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Presenting an hour of code for kids

Teachers Susan Ellison and eight elementary school students have brought historic Kump House into the 21st Century. On Tuesday, March 3 from 4-5 p.m. Kump Education Center [KEC] offered a Free Coding Class for second- to fifth-graders.

If students want to learn more they will enroll in the Coding Class and pay $40 for an hour of coding each Tuesday at 4 for the next four weeks. We still have room for two more students. If you know an elementary school student who would like to join the class call 304-637-7820.

Susan Ellison is a retired middle school teacher from Roane County where she taught science and computer coding for several years. She moved here with her husband John who now manages the radio station in Elkins. Although she was called Ms. Ellison back in the Roane County schools, she lets the kids call her Susan at KEC.

Susan is authorized to facilitate the standard Mindcraft lessons, and she knows when students are ready to move on to the next level. Susan adapted the Randolph County Schools’ computer use agreement for KEC to remind students and their parents that they are responsible for not going to any websites that are not part of the planned curriculum.

Susan says the kids are learning to code when they “click” on objects and “drag” them to a new location on the screen. These are some of the basic maneuvers students learn while they are developing their eye-hand coordination. Mindcraft looks like animated logos and other 3-D games on the screen.

The kids were clicking and dragging to complete puzzles or knock off nuisances while parents and grandparents sat behind them during that very rainy Tuesday afternoon. There they were in the Altice Learning Lab using new Lenovo laptop computers in the old room where Kump children used to play games in the basement on rainy afternoons.

As educators work to prepare children for the jobs of the future, we need to remember that technology is moving along constantly. Technology is changing every facet of human endeavor. Curriculum designers say that the students of the twenty-first century must be able to work with artificial intelligence in most modern jobs. All students should be “A.I. Ready.”

Of course, good basic reading and writing skills will be necessary for people to be effective on most jobs, and using a computer can actually increase reading and math fluency. The cost of keeping up with technology is a real challenge for school systems in the 21st Century.

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