Friday afternoon, the Lake Hills Elementary School gymnasium was alive with sounds of whirring and buzzing during the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City’s “Week of Code” Celebration.
From May 6th to May 12th, Michigan City Area Schools partnered with several organizations to teach coding and technology skills to local students in grades K-12. Facilitators from Eleven Fifty Academy, a non-profit organization based out of the Indianapolis area, led activities all week to students and teachers, as well as many community members during a two-day weekend boot camp to kick off the week.
Additional sponsors of the week included the Unity Foundation of LaPorte County, Horizon Bank, the Michigan City Commission for Women, and the Economic Development Corporation of Michigan City (EDCMC).
EDCMC’s Economic Development Manager Katie Eaton said, “We’re having a celebration here at Lake Hills to showcase all of the great things that have been happening here as a STEM, or Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, certified school, because they have been doing some different coding programs and robotics programs for quite some time.”
Students from Lake Hills Elementary School and Michigan City High School were eager to explain the skills and the tools that they used all week. Activities included Robot Mouse, Raspberry Pi, LEGO Robotics, Makey Makey, and Ozobot Adventure.
“The Ozobots are my favorite,” said Lake Hills Elementary sixth grader Zachary Volckmann. “They’re so cool, and they’re really funny, because sometimes they fall off the table, and if they land on their feet they will just keep going.”
Many teachers were also excited about their students getting involved in the weeklong event. Michigan City High School engineering teacher and Robotics Team coach Ralph Gee was excited about the impact that the week had on MCAS's younger kids, especially its female students.
“It’s shocking…my class is about ten percent female students, so exposing young girls to this at a younger age will get them more involved in it,” he said. “The girls I have are actually sharper than a lot of the guys, so it’s not about ability. It’s just a mental mindset that they have to overcome when they’re little.”
As the world advances and grows technologically every day, demand for skilled coders also grows. The organizations involved hope that the knowledge and awareness learned during this week will expand and propel the community forward.
“We see this as a necessary skill set to have in order to build and promote a future work force of employees and business owners,” said Clarence Hulse, Executive Director of EDCMC. “At the end of the day, the students get to learn a skill that they can take across all industries. I’m excited to see the community move forward, adding another tool to our toolbox.”
Michigan City, IN 46360
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