October 31, 2017 - 8:26 am
After learning how to wire and program robots, as well as write basic code, 11-year-old Melody Weaver said she wants to become a robotics engineer.
Weaver said it was her dad’s idea for her to learn coding.
“He was thinking there’s lots of job opportunities for people who code,” she said. “He was like, ‘If you could get a job for coding, or if you could get a diploma in computer science, you can get any job you want.’”
Weaver began learning these skills at a summer camp at Code Central, Henderson’s first brick-and-mortar center aimed at teaching kids how to write software code. Code Central, which was opened in March by Eric and Brian Mendelsohn, teaches kids computer skills that the brothers say are essential in today’s job market. .
“We saw there’s no place for kids to go to learn this new skill,” Brian said. “And not necessarily learning how to code so they could all be programmers, but the possibility of coding in general, what it could do for their minds.
“It’s like the new math.”
Code Central, near West Horizon Ridge Parkway and Eastern Avenue, combines online programs with in-person instructors. As students progress, they may learn about robotics, web design and game development.
Students can sign up on a per-month basis for one or two hours of lessons a week. Some of the programs teach coding through games like CodeCombat.
“Our curriculum is made up of individual modules, so they kind of go through different levels,” Eric Mendelsohn said. “And they’re all very interactive and engaging for the kids. It’s self-paced and individualized, but we encourage collaboration.”
The center offers collaborative projects that students can work on for a few weeks at a time. Projects include designing websites, creating applications or learning to program a robot.
For Eric Mendolsohn, who was a teacher in the Bay Area before the center, the goal of the program is to promote critical thinking and collaboration, along with coding. He also wants Code Central to be a resource for students learning code in school to go for extra help.
Student Devin Keenan, 11, said it already helps him with his in-school studies.
“I’m technically home-schooled, but I go to the school physically once every week,” he said. “We do the assignments at our own leisure. But the computer science assignments, we have to do things in code. But I’ve been able to do those here, so I would be able to focus myself on the things I’m having trouble with more.”
Keenan said it is his dream eventually to make video games professionally, so he can “bring joy to the current generation, just like how I’ve had so much fun with all the games.”
He keeps a game he made during a Code Central summer camp on his computer as “sort of like a trophy.”
Classes are offered from 3-7 p.m. weekdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays and noon-3 p.m. Sundays. Prices start at $140 a month for one hour of lessons per week, including a free 30-minute introductory trial session. The center has tech camps planned Nov. 20-22, Dec. 27-29 and Jan. 3-5. Camps cost $99 a day, or $250 for three days. To register, call 702-790-3930, visit mycodecentral.com or go to 10545 S. Eastern Ave., Suite 110.