Coding is the language of the future. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be more than one million unfilled tech jobs within the next three years. But how do parents go about teaching coding to kids when it’s all Greek, or Python, to us?
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819 W Eastman Street, Chicago
A new coding studio, Codeverse, that aims to make learning to code both easy and exciting for kids between ages 6 and 12, is coming to Lincoln Park this summer.
“It is so important for our kids to have a fundamental understanding of how technology works because it is so present in their lives every single day. It gives them the upper edge, especially when you think about how kids today need to learn these skills to fulfill the jobs of the future,” says Codeverse co-founder Katy Lynch, former CEO of Techweek.
Coding also helps kids learn problem solving and critical thinking skills, and encourages creativity, which are all skills kids will need for success in any future environment, tech-based or not.
The good news for kids is that learning the valuable skills of coding is a ton of fun in Codeverse’s hackable classroom.
When a student enters the interactive studio, they get an iPad that lights up with their name. Using their iPads, they navigate the space and code using KidScript, the company’s proprietary coding language. With KidScript, kids can build games and apps and not only email or text them to their parents, but also upload them to the App Store.
They can also hack hundreds of objects in the classroom, ranging from lasers and 3D printers, to robotic arms and fog machines. (This is definitely not your typical classroom.)
“We designed it to be an inspirational environment,” says Lynch. And while coding may seem to be an individual activity, Codeverse encourages kids to collaborate, and has a 20-foot screen where 10 children at a time can work together on coding challenges.
“Kids are surrounded by tech and other kids building cool stuff, and they’ll get all these ideas for things that they want to build themselves,” says Lynch.
The idea that inspiration can be contagious is one reason why the founders wanted to open a brick and mortar location. Another reason was for teachers to have face-to-face interaction and support with students, something they can’t get from online resources, though kids can use the Codeverse platform at home, too.
Lynch says the goal is to teach one billion kids to code. She says kids (and adults) are never too old to learn to code. Tweens who have never coded before often take to it right away. And Codeverse is also prepared for kids who have a bit of coding experience already.
Codeverse will be open in July, and they are taking sign-ups for classes and summer camps now. The company plans to launch three more Codeverse studios in the Chicagoland area (Deerfield, Naperville and Skokie) over the next 18 months.