Philippine Daily Inquirer / 04:31 AM January 18, 2017
IPads, games, apps, droids and robots are classroom learning tools at the Junior Academy for Coding Knowledge, Inc. (JACK), a study center in Ortigas, Pasig.
JACK aims to teach kids and teens basic coding knowledge through hands-on training at a time when technology is reshaping our lives.
In this digital age, coding is fast becoming the literacy of the future. It’s as important as learning how to read and write.
At JACK, kids are given the avenue to learn code at an early age in a fun and kid-friendly environment. They create new things with the latest tech trends and innovations.
There are courses that sharpen logical thinking and problem-solving skills, and boost creativity.
Three carefully grouped tracks allow kids to specialize in their own interests.
In five different classes, students learn how to code as they develop apps using various tools.
The Scratch: Welcome to the World of Coding class teaches the fundamentals of coding. A programming platform developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Scratch allows students to create interactive stories, animations and games, giving them a better appreciation of coding.
In A Taste of Game Salad, students can design, execute and publish a game on the App Store and Play Store.
Aside from creating interactive projects, animations and games, students can also learn how to build a website in the Create Track.
The Internet: The Exciting World of Web Development course equips students with web development skills, as they design, develop and publish their own website.
On the other hand, the Minecraft: Code and Mod course allows students to create their own Minecraft Game. Students learn how to build and design their game character and environment, and even animate elements through coding.
Play and Learn with STEM Track allows students to use coding to make machines come alive. In fun classes like Program, Practice and Play with BB8 Droid and Code to Fly with Drones, BB8-Droids and Parrot Drones are programmed to follow rules, avoid obstructions and execute maneuvers.
Tinker Track Courses are perfect for budding engineers.
The Light Up: Coding, Circuitry and Augmented Reality class teaches the core concepts of coding, circuitry and engineering, as students snap magnetic blocks to build circuits.
The Engineer: Coding and Robotics course is where students learn coding by programming microcontrollers, servomotors and smart sensors to make the lego bricks come to life.
JACK teachers are University of the Philippines graduates in Computer Science, Engineering, and Information Technology.
While other coding bootcamps for kids are already popular in other countries, JACK is the first of its kind here.
“We realized that the Philippines is lagging behind its Asean counterparts in terms of coding knowledge and awareness. We hope to bridge that gap by giving our children an avenue where they can become fluent in technology,” says Rose A. Saulog, one of the founders of JACK.
She adds: “Coming from a family of techies, with a sister who is more of an academician, we have always been interested in technology education. When we heard of the continuous development of coding schools in the US, Singapore and Hong Kong, we decided to look into it and see how we may bring this kind of education in the Philippines.
“Most of the classes we saw did not fully bridge the gap between technology and education so when we started JACK, we wanted the children to have a hands-on experience by having the school in a real tech firm and by getting innovative and brand new tech teaching materials from the US.”
In a technology-driven world, children must learn how to code. But more than technology, coding strengthens skills that children can apply in life in general. Since it develops them to be more analytical and innovative, learning coding would be beneficial for them whatever field they choose to pursue.