ACL Code Club teaches kids, teens

ALPENA — Throughout the summer, students can learn code in a fun way at the Alpena County Library.

Coding is the language that tells your computer what to do.

An elementary code club starts this week for ages 8 to 11, from 1 to 2 p.m. every Wednesday throughout the summer. A middle/high school code club, for ages 11 to 18, will be from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays for the summer, instead of on Thursdays, which is when the club is held during the school year.

Eleven-year-olds can participate in either club.

Library Information Technology (IT) specialist Nancy Mousseau said the clubs are a fun way for students to learn technology. She said the emphasis behind the clubs is a social atmosphere because they’re having fun, but learning at the same time.

The elementary code club is for third- through sixth-graders who want to learn different types of coding. The Prenda software, the library’s software for the coding, makes learning feel like a gaming atmosphere, Mousseau said.

“They’ll be learning about HTML5, which will be websites,” Mousseau said. “There’s a lot of different programming languages that they’ll be exposed to and they’re exposed to them through small projects that have more of a gaming emphasis to them.”

Students in the middle/high school club were recently introduced to virtual reality in the context of coding, Mousseau said.

Mousseau said learning coding at a young age will help the students as they get older.

“Even if they’re not in a technology field, just having the ability to be literate in these languages is really super important,” she said.