To help explain these pre-coding basics, volunteers guided groups of eager students through a series of educational activities.
“XANT is pleased to work with local schools as part of Hour of Code,” said Tema Laussen, executive director of XANT’s Do Good Foundation. “We want to do everything we can to get kids excited about coding and see it as a possible career path.”
Earlier this year, XANT hosted a coding camp for girls at its Provo headquarters. The Do Good Foundation has also sponsored four scholarships at Utah universities for women studying computer science.
A growing global movement
Initiatives like Hour of Code are part of a global movement to encourage the world’s youth to pursue technology careers.
According to a 2014 article in “Time,” by the year 2020, American universities will not be able to supply enough qualified graduates to fill even a third of the country’s 1.4 million computing positions.
To help fill the gap, organizations and nonprofits, such as Code.org, are creating innovative programs for children.
“It was exciting to see the light bulb turn on in their heads when the kids realized, ‘Oh, that’s how video games work,’” said Justin Scott, IT support manager at XANT. “Some of them said they were going to go home and check out some coding websites. They are eager to continue learning.”
Emily, a Maple Ridge sixth-grader, caught the vision for what these skills can help her achieve. When asked about her future plans, she said, “I want to start a company the size of Microsoft.”