Alistiar McFetridge, 8, plays with a miniature robot that reacts to movement at Digi Camps, a week-long digital literacy summer camp that encourages kids between the ages of 5-6 to learn about coding and programming using screen-based and artistic learning exercises. (Brittany Gervais photo)

Terrace kids get tech savvy at Digi Camps

Coast Mountain College and Actua partnered up to do week-long coding camps this summer

Terrace students dived into coding skills at a summer camp hosted by Coast Mountain College (CMTN).

In partnership with Actua, an organization that aims to bring digital literacy to remote communities, Digi Camp teaches coding, robotics and various media forms to youth between the ages of 5-16.

Students attend classes in the mornings for a week, exploring coding through different exercises and challenges.

At the beginning of the class on August 2, campers started laying out colour codes with markers and paper to program the tiny robots called ozobots, which are slightly smaller than a golfball. The ozobots then drive over the colours with combinations instructing them to speed up, turn around, or slow down.

“The kids can make different codes and get them to race, so it’s a different type of coding because they’re not always on the computers,” said camp facilitator Shayla Ruchotzke.

For students who prefer more screen-based learning, Digi Camps also use the site to teach kids the fundamentals of programming.

“They make their own video games, and they have micro bits where they can go outside and do more science-type activities. They do temperature, they make keyboards with their micro bits so there are so many different varieties,” Ruchotzke said.

“No matter what kind of science they like, we have something for them and we can provide that for them.”

The camps keep students learning over the summer. Rylen Burgomaster, 10, said his experience at the camp has made coding interesting to learn.

“It’s really fun because I made a little game, and I enjoyed it. I learned simple coding, and it’s really fun,” he said.

“It’s better than school, it’s definitely better than school.”

These camps have popped up in Terrace, Prince Rupert, Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams with 196 students taking part in programming lessons since the beginning of July. The next camp in Terrace starts on August 20 and runs until August 24.

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Lynnette Stephen, 6, draws out a path for a tiny robot called an ozobot to follow at Digi Camp on August 2. The campers can use different colours to program the ozobots to do a variety of different things, like speed-up, turn around and slow down. (Brittany Gervais photo)

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