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This article was published 27/5/2019 (202 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Two self-proclaimed geeks are celebrating coding and problem solving at a new summer camp for kids.
Idris Elbakri and Osaed Khan are the founders of Code Cobras, a coding and programming camp in its inaugural year. The camp runs July and August at Southeast Collegiate in Fairfield Park.
Too often, children come through the public school system without having significant exposure to computer literacy skills, said Elbakri, an assistant professor and medical physics instructor at the University of Manitoba, who has a patented algorithm to his name.
"I think this is becoming literacy for kids of our age," Elbakri said. "The future economy is going to be artificial intelligence, automation, so we either program the machines or struggle to find jobs."
Elbakri points to increased industrial automation, autonomous vehicles, and even the handheld technology that so many people rely on each day, to emphasize the importance of a foundation in basic computer programming.
"To prepare our kids for the future economy I think coding is an essential skill," Elbakri said.
"This really works. I’ve seen it with my kids," Elbakri said. "It’s something that excites them and takes advantage of their interest in video games, but they’re not playing video games. They’re thinking and arranging a sequence of commands to the computer to do something.
"I feel that kids may not become professional coders or computer scientists but they should at least understand the underlying principles behind how technology works," he said.
Khan, a high school math and science teacher, said it’s always great to see kids pick up coding skills as they work through the curriculum. The pair plans to offer Code Cobras in the future as an after-school program, but believe a summer camp is the best introduction to the community.
"I think that the kids and parents would like to see something different," Khan said. "I’m a teacher, so I like to see kids get excited when they’re learning, and sometimes they don’t realize they’re learning, they’re having fun.
"I like the idea that kids will be able to come be happy and enjoy, and problem solve together."
Kids won’t be spending the whole day behind a screen, either. Khan and Elbakri have built the camp to include outdoor and gym activities, reading time, crafts, and more on the Southeast Collegiate campus.
"At the same time you can be nerd and play sports," Khan said. "It’s a good combination to have."
More information is available at codecobras.com