DuBOIS — Sixth-graders at the DuBois Area Middle School had an exciting last day of school Monday — a team of presenters from online technology giant, Google, visited the school.
“Today we were here for our Google CS First Roadshow,” said Googler Alex Sanchez. “This is part of the roadshow where we go to communities all across the country and teach kids how to code.”
Sanchez, who travels throughout the country as part of the national roadshow, explained that it’s an hour-long session in which they really try to get students inspired by code.
“People have these misperceptions about coding being something that is really anti-social, or something that’s not easy to do, and what we try to do here is we try to show, actually that it can be a lot of fun,” Sanchez said. “It’s very collaborative, and we try to show them the ropes so they use a visual programming language called Scratch to make them interact with story.”
The goal of the program is to get kids interested in science, technology, engineering and math, and let them know that there is an abundance of STEM jobs further down the road.
“We want to really inspire kids to use technology and use technology as something that they can do good with,” Sanchez said. “We don’t want students to just be consumers of technology, we want them to be creators of technologies. We want them to take the skills they learn here today, and create programs, or create new initiatives. Or do things that they think they can do that will build their interest.”
The Google presenters showed the students examples of the fashion industry, the healthcare industry, and even instances with the video gaming industries, which most excited many of the students.
“We want to show them this is something really fun, really exciting, and something that they can do and isn’t scary,” said Sanchez.
“My friend and I created a story about two characters on a boat and they had to get to the best internet connection in order to play their video game,” said student Noah Keighley.
The CS First Roadshow has stopped in big and small communities in the nation for nearly the last two years.
“This is our first one of this kind in the area,” Sanchez said. “I think the closest one to here that we’ve done, we might have done one in Philly. Throughout the school year, we try to go everywhere. There’s a lot more places for us to go.”
Google worked with Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson, who represents the 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives and was also in attendance Monday.
“He (Thompson) recommended the school and we were like, ‘Great. This sounds like a great place to be in,’” said Sanchez. “The school community here has been fantastic. The kids were really engaged, they were learning, they were having a lot of fun. A lot of them hadn’t necessarily seen, had not done computer programming themselves, but they were getting it really quickly. They were having a lot of fun. A lot of laughter, a lot of really interesting stories.”
“There’s 6.5 million jobs open and available in this country and most of those jobs involve basic coding, technology or some computer science,” Thompson said. “Whether it’s in manufacturing or medicine, that number is increasing each day and it’s going to grow exponentially into the future.”
Those interested in learning more about CS First Clubs can check out www.cs.first.com.