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Kids learn coding with robots at Rock Valley College

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By 2034, it’s estimated 47% of all jobs will be automated and skilled programmers will be in high demand. 

Kids in grades kindergarten through eighth can get a jump start with the help of a workshop hosted by Rock Valley College.
 
‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ is a question kids are often asked. 

“I wanna just be a psychiatrist,” said Rachel Haugen, 13. 

” A pharmacist,” said Lydia Grommes, 13. 

“A rock star,” said Elle Reints, 5. 

No matter the career choice, experts say programming will one day be a part of most jobs in some fashion. 

“By 2030, 65% of all jobs in the world will have some type of automated piece that people that work there are going to have to learn how to program,” said Chuck Konkol, Rock Valley College Professor.

That’s one of the reasons 13-year-old Rachel Haugen attended Rock Valley College’s “Learn Coding with Robots” workshop. 

“In all careers, nowadays, there’s more technology and coding will just help with maybe inventing new things and helping with the career that you choose to do,” Haugen said. 

So what is coding?

“It’s really solving a puzzle, whatever puzzle that might be,” Konkol said. “If you like to solve a crossword puzzle or a jigsaw puzzle, whatever it is, you’ve got pieces everywhere and you’re like ‘ok, how does all of this fit together?’” 

RVC’S workshop teaches the basics of computer science using the Ozobot robot.

“He’s just cute,” said Lydia Grommes, 13. “He needs some googly eyes.”

“They’re learning with the Ozobot,” said Konkol. “Number one, you can control things with code logically if you follow directions. They also learn the robots only going to do what you tell it to do like a computer. It doesn’t do anything you don’t tell it to do.” 

 The Ozobot program also gives kids access to online lessons and code tutorials. 

“Ever since I learned about what coding is, I’ve always wanted to,” said Joshua Domino, 11. “Ever since especially I’ve been working with robot coding stuff.” 

Professor Konkol says he hopes the class teaches kids that anyone can learn to code if they have the desire.

“Demystify computer science,” said Konkol. “Make it less scary. If they want to do this, they can do it.” 

All it takes is one “Hour of Code.” 

The RVC “Hour of Code” will be offered at CherryVale mall the first Tuesday of the month starting June 5th at 6:30 p.n.

The workshops are free thanks to a grant from the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois.

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