Making Makers: Children Learn to Code at Predicate Academy

LOGAN TWP. — On Jan. 11, Predicate Academy opened their doors to students for the first class of Predicate Bootcamp.

predicate webPredicate Academy is a new business in the community, devoted to technology education for children and teenagers aged 7 to 18 years old. “We founded Predicate to cultivate the next generation of technology innovators,” said Michael Orr, a Woolwich resident and advanced technology researcher who founded the academy along with his wife, Lizbeth.

The program teaches core concepts – hardware design, coding, and how to appreciate the value of teamwork. These are lifelong skills in science, technology, engineering, and math.

The first Predicate Bootcamp program for students aged 9+ is well underway with three classes of students attending once per week. Predicate Bootcamp is an introductory course that provides broad exposure to the varying facets of working with technology and the fundamentals of computational thinking.

As part of this introductory course, students will assemble their own Predi-Kit hardware bundle then dive into the basics of Raspbian, the Pi’s Linux-based operating system, as well as key concepts such as hardware interfacing and writing code. “The Raspberry Pi is a great instructional aide for introducing technology,” said Orr.

All academy students purchase a Pi hardware bundle, referred to as the Predi-Kit, for use during Bootcamp. Orr wanted to create a hardware kit that is affordable and something that the students can take home for continued coding and prototyping.

Predicate offers several other programs. The Little Conductors program is a fun way to start creating technology for students ages 7-8. This program is specifically designed for budding innovators who like to build and are curious about how things work. This class provides a gentle introduction to the foundations of computational thinking and how to think about solving problems with a computer.

Minecraft Mashup class, which will start in April, requires the completion of Predicate’s Bootcamp program. This class provides a deeper introduction into the Python programming language and game playing in the context of making “mods” to Minecraft.

Predicate Bootcamp/College Prep class is specifically designed for high schoolers currently in 9th through 11th grade who enjoy working with computers and are looking  for a major in computer science or an engineering discipline. Class will include theory with related example projects that will be completed at home between classes.

Right now summer classes are in development. The classes include Flight Tracking, Robotics 1 and Conversational Systems. Each course at Predicate has a maximum enrollment of 12 students and includes an instructor as well as one to two assistants per class.

Predicate employs computer science professionals, teachers, college and gifted high school students with the shared mission of changing the way children learn technology. According to Orr, “Our goal is to create a Silicon Valley style – high caliber – advanced technology platform here in Gloucester County.”

Predicate Academy arrives at a time when the need for technology education could not be greater. The skills developed during the Bootcamp give students a jumpstart on learning software and applications they otherwise might not be exposed to until college or in their career.

To learn more about Predicate Academy, plan to attend an open house, Like on Facebook, call Predicate at (484) 483-5820, or visit the website at http://predicate.us. Their studio which is located at 230 Village Center Drive, on the second floor above Papa Luigi’s Pizza in Logan Township.

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