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Using Apple iPads and digital playgrounds, sixth to eighth grade students will soon be upping their digital game this summer. Montgomery College, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) and Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) are working together to bring coding camp opportunities for free to middle school students through the summer program, Montgomery Can Code.

“IT and coding are central to the skillsets needed to access the knowledge of economic opportunity,” said Dr. Sanjay Rai, senior vice president of academic affairs at Montgomery College.

Students will use the interactive Swift Playgrounds for iPad, a free app that makes getting started with Swift code interactive and fun. It takes advantage of the multi-touch features of iPads allowing students to use real code to learn key programming concepts by solving puzzles. Swift is an easy-to-understand programming language used by professional developers to create apps.

“I’m excited about Swift, a coding language, developed by Apple, that will engage our young people in a way that wasn’t possible before,” Dr. Rai added.

The summer camps will take place on Montgomery College’s Rockville and Takoma Park/Silver Spring campuses. The sessions will be taught through Montgomery College’s Information Technology Institute (ITI), by instructors trained in Swift. The weeklong camp sessions will take place from June 24 to August 2.

Coding is essential to a future in technology… [it] helps develop critical problem-solving skills and early interest in great tech careers.

“Coding is essential to a future in technology,” said David Petr, MCEDC CEO and president, “We are happy to partner in this unique program, which helps develop critical problem-solving skills and early interest in great tech careers.”

The summer experience will include Career Pathway Days when kids will have opportunities to interact with leading local IT companies to talk about future careers. The experience will conclude with a Student Apps Showcase event designed to highlight some of the students’ App Design Journals.

This year’s program filled to capacity within weeks of its introduction, and program directors expect it to remain a popular summer program in years ahead.

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