River Valley Community College announces two free opportunities for kids to learn technology skills

Alice 3D Animation Programming and Kids in Technology Day connect students of all ages to computer science and each other

Claremont, New Hampshire – Answering the state’s call to inspire students to consider technology careers, River Valley Community College (RVCC) is offering two new programs for middle and high school students to experience the hardware and software side of the industry. Kids in Technology, a one-day event where middle school students build computers, and a six-week class in Alice 3D Animation, provide current RVCC PC Assembly students the chance to inspire the next generation of technologists.

“Hands-on learning is one of the most effective ways to introduce and reinforce new concepts, and what we’re doing at RVCC unites many levels of computer science in a way that benefits all the participants,” said Bob Morris, business and technology department chair. “This is a new and creative approach to expose kids to technology and build off a strength we already have at the college.”

Each year, students enrolled in Morris’ RVCC PC Assembly course – part of RVCC’s Computer Technology associate and certificate program  – assemble a new crop of computers to replace older machines across RVCCs campuses in Claremont and the Keene and Lebanon Academic Centers. An activity that typically spans a few weeks, this year’s efforts will pull together 75 middle and high school students from across the state to build them all in one day with help and mentorship from Morris and his RVCC cohort at RVCC’s Kids in Technology event.

And then those kids will learn how to program the computers.

Through instruction during the December 5 event, middle school students will learn computer programming concepts and how to use 3D graphics to create animated videos using Alice, an open-source educational software specifically designed to be a student’s first exposure to object-oriented programming. With help from RVCC college students and high school students hand-selected to assist their younger counterparts, and working in small groups, the middle schoolers will be challenged to create a short animation, with the winning team receiving prizes.

The Kids in Technology event is Monday, December 5 from 8:30 am to 2 pm at RVCC’s main campus at 1 College Place in Claremont. There is no cost to attend, and breakfast and lunch will be provided. To learn more, register students or get involved, contact Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Ali Rafieymehr at arafieymehr@ccsnh.edu or 603-542-7744 ext. 5340. The registration deadline is Friday, November 4, 2016.

For middle school students already interested in technology, RVCC is halfway through a fledgling program: a free six-week class in 3D animation taught by RVCC’s Dr. Rafieymehr. The course covers methods and functions, various looping instructions, if/else event handling, and other core concepts. By teaching skills typically reserved for students in introductory programming college courses, New Hampshire students are getting a head start in this rapidly growing field.

“It is important to nurture that spark of excitement when a student shows interest or aptitude in computer science and technology, and even more so when that student is starting to think about his or her career path,” Rafieymehr said. “By opening access to as many aspects of science and technology applications as possible, we’re removing some of the barriers that dissuade kids from getting excited about science-focused careers.”

To learn more about RVCC and its programs, as well its many unique community partnerships and commitment to imparting skills necessary for thoughtful life-long learning, visit rivervalley.edu.

About River Valley Community College

River Valley Community College is one of seven colleges in the Community College System of New Hampshire, offering thirty-nine associate degree and certificate programs in Claremont, Keene, Lebanon, and Online. Financial Aid and Scholarships are available. The seven community colleges in the system are committed to working with businesses throughout the state to train and retain employees to develop a robust workforce across all sectors and embraces the "65 by 25 Initiative," which calls for 65% of NH citizens to have some form of post-secondary education by 2025 to meet future workforce demands.

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