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Future Kid Tech Stars Graduate from CSUSB Summer Program

By Patrick Person
Community Writer
09/08/2013 at 11:50 AM

The first group of students graduated from a pilot program that teaches computer programming to children from 4–12 years of age. The innovative program, Kids That Code, held its first graduation ceremony last month at Cal State San Bernardino. CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales presided over the ceremony, which was held in his conference room. Each student of the 12 participating children received a special certificate of completion from the president. The children, who were from San Bernardino, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga and Claremont, were taught a kid-friendly computer language called “Scratch,” which was originally developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The children were able to create their own video games, animation and interactive stories, said Kids That Code Director Pat Person. “Some of the kids really applied themselves and learned the Scratch program very well. I was surprised to see one of the kids create an animated project on the spot while demonstrating what he had learned,” said program coordinator Alfonso Anaya. “It was in this instance that I recognized the power of this program.” The program, which used specially trained students from CSUSB and San Bernardino Valley College as instructors, was created as a solution to the lack of technology workers in the United States and especially in the Inland Empire, Person said. “These kids literally represent the future of the Inland Empire and we believe the Kids That Code program will inspire innovation, entrepreneurship, and economic recovery for the region,” Person said. The children also participated in technology-related exercises that included a visit to the radio and television studios at Cal State San Bernardino, as well as creating intricate objects using a state-of-the-art 3D printer. But to the students it was more about learning and having fun. “This class has been amazing! I love playing video games … I can’t believe I created my own,” said 12-year-old Shan Rowe. We will start a pilot after school program at a few local elementary schools this Fall once we get final permission. Person said that they hope to start a pilot program at a few area elementary schools in the fall. Kids That Code Inc. is a company created by a team of M.B.A. students from Cal State San Bernardino. The team is developing a unique after-school program for both public and private schools and institutions.