By 1812Blockhouse

Middle school students in Richland County brought classic carnival games to life with a tech twist Tuesday at the Code a Carnival camp. The event, held at the NC State College Kehoe Center, was a collaboration between the Richland Area Chamber and Microsoft TechSpark, showcasing the students’ budding computing skills.

Interactive Carnival Fun

Families and community members gathered to enjoy a carnival created by 25 middle school students. These students spent the past week coding carnival games using Microsoft MakeCode Arcade. They didn’t stop at digital games; they built physical versions like ring toss and skee ball, enhanced with microdevices that added shaking, lighting effects, and scorekeeping.

The camp organizers emphasized the importance of combining creativity with technology, allowing students to see firsthand how coding can bring traditional games to life in new and exciting ways.

Inspiring Future Coders

The Code a Carnival camp, co-hosted by North Central State College and the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development, was funded by the Chamber’s Microsoft TechSpark grant. This initiative aimed to spark interest in computer science as a potential career path.

Microsoft TechSpark is a civic program designed to foster economic opportunity and job creation by partnering with local communities across the United States. The program aims to promote digital skills, increase access to broadband internet, and help local organizations thrive through technology.

TechSpark Highlights

In 2023, Microsoft expanded TechSpark to all 50 states through the new TechSpark Fellows model. Local organizations in each state receive grants to support a TechSpark Fellow who will lead efforts focused on digital access, computer science education, digital skills, and digital transformation.

TechSpark takes a hyperlocal approach, working closely with community organizations to understand regional challenges and develop tailored solutions. Microsoft also offers a playbook and resource hub to help others replicate and build on the successful strategies used by TechSpark.

Positive Impact

TechSpark has significantly impacted communities by providing resources to help bridge the digital divide. Focusing on digital skills training and broadband access, TechSpark helps create opportunities for economic growth and development.

The camp highlighted the importance of partnerships like these in bringing vital resources and support to the community. By learning to code, students are not only gaining valuable skills but also opening doors to future careers and opportunities they might not have considered.

Source, Photo: Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development

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