This week is "Hour of Code" week, a national movement to encourage kids of all ages to learn computer programing, also called coding. The public schools in Miami-Dade and Broward counties are diving into the deep end of coding; making sure students are exposed to the roots of technology.
At Maya Angelou Elementary School in Miami, they have a talking robot named Cody. The fourth-graders have learned to program Cody to speak, walk, wave his arms, and even to do Tai-Chi moves.
A crash course in coding is available at www.hourofcode.org. Schools are using the website's lessons, which use characters from the Disney movie “Frozen,” to get kids started.
"It's allowing our boys and girls to have this wonderful opportunity to expand their horizons, to think creatively," said Adrena Williams, principal at Maya Angelou.
At Deerfield Beach Elementary School, some of the fifth-graders are having their first exposure to coding. When NBC6 visited, every single kid was engaged, locked in on their tablets, because kids love technology and it loves them back. The principal says coding should be a required subject.
"I'm not a technology geek; I'm not that technology savvy, but we're in the age of technology and our students need to know, understand how to use it," said Dr. Victoria Thurston, principal at Deerfield Beach Elementary.
At this age, learning how to program a computer isn't just about coding; it also helps these kids with just about every subject.
"Coding helps them to better understand reading, mathematics, science, so it's a collaboration of all subjects, doing something that they enjoy," said Williams.
On hourofcode.org, you can see if you can match coding skills with your kids. After all, it's a skill they can use throughout their educational years and beyond.
"Every application, every game, every computer program starts with a code," Dr. Thurston pointed out.