The Development Authority of Dawson County, in conjunction with the Next Generation Youth Clubhouse and the Dawson County School System, supported student education in computer science by participating in the Georgia Day of Code on Dec. 10.
All three organizations participated in the Hour of Code held last year as well.
"The Georgia Day of Code is part of a greater initiative to bring more student and teacher awareness to the benefits of Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math, or STEAM, to our state and our country," said Development Authority of Dawson County Executive Director Charlie Auvermann. "The Day of Code is being held as part of National Computer Science Education Week."
The Georgia event was sponsored by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG) and their TAG Education Collaborative. Much of the coding activities are provided by Code.org an international organization dedicated to helping develop computer coding for students.
Throughout the week, the Next Generation Clubhouse and students at Riverview Middle and Robinson Elementary School took part in events and programs designed to introduce and teach computer-coding skills.
The students utilized a number of custom program curriculums that teach basic website design, simple gaming development and virtual robotics along with math puzzle and visualization coding, using well-known coding methods through SCRATCH, KAREL and HTML along with the lessons provided by Code.org
"Our state is moving rapidly toward the era of the ‘Internet of Everything,'" Auvermann said. "Within the next two decades nothing we touch, use or have will not be directly influenced by the World Wide Web, robotics, the cloud or some form of digital interface. Everyone will have to know something about computer science and coding."
Auvermann pointed out that there remains a critical shortage of trained, certified computer coders and information technology specialists across the state.
"One of the latest reports showed there are over 30,000 open positions in Georgia right now in these fields," he said.
TAG supports coding and computer education in addition to core STEM/STEAM programs across the state. In its 2014 State of the Technology Industry Report TAG noted that Georgia technology job growth increased 8.3 percent since the end of the recession and that the average technology employee in Georgia now earns more than $83,000 per year. The fastest growth has been in Health Information Technology.