Coding club teaches kids language of the Internet

Published 5:27 pm Friday, March 3, 2017

Technology is such an integrated part of our daily lives that we often do not even notice it. With an understanding of technology becoming a basic foundation of education, the need for early childhood focus on technology is becoming more and more important.

The Decatur County Gilbert H. Gragg Library has set out to make an impact on the children of Decatur county by offering a Coding Club to focus on teaching children to better understand the technology that will shape much of their lives as they mature.

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Coding affects every aspect of technology that people use on a daily basis; it is the foundation of how technology works and how computers respond to demands of the user.

After a year in the making, and a STEAM grant, which allowed the purchase of five new laptops for the club to use, the Coding Club was able to boot up at the library.

“Anytime you use your smart phone and you’re accessing an app, so Facebook or Gmail or whatever, behind that is the code,” said Kaycee Shiley, the Youth Services and Community Relations Librarian. “It also expands beyond that. A lot of people assume that only people who are going to work in some computer or technology field need to know it, but coding is expanding into everything.”

Shiley was trained to teach code by in Leesburg, Georgia. is an organization that builds programs to teach elementary students the basic building blocks of coding because of their belief that every child should be learning some form of coding.

“Their ( thing is that every child should be learning these skills,” said Shiley. “It’s just like any other language, the older we get the harder it is to learn.”

The program uses child friendly games to teach the children the basics of coding. It uses familiar images, like Angry Birds, to familiarize children and make the program feel less like a class and more like a club, according to Shiley.  After a survey offered after one of the early meetings of the Coding Club, the students overwhelmingly responded that they were interested in coming back.

“They’ve (the children) have had such a good time,” said Shiley. “We’re seeing kids who are building relationships who may not have otherwise met each other that now have a common interest. It’s so fun to see them getting so excited about something they’ve never done before.”

Shiley hopes the class could serve as an inspiration for some of the children to take an early interest in coding and carry that interest all the way into a career one day. Regardless of future interest, the interest in the present is encouraging for Shiley, who thinks that the Coding Club has room to expand into a bigger program at the library.

The Coding Club at the library is targeted at the 8-12 age range for their sections. The classes try to cap at 15 children per session and meet on the fourth Tuesday of every month. Registration can be done over the phone or in person at the library.