Tech Games Nabs Competitors at Young Age

By Julia Sepulveda, Sierra LaDuke
April 28, 2014

English, math, science, history and ... code? A field of study that has been considered a hobby for the past couple decades is quickly becoming valuable knowledge for the next generation.

This belief has yet to become mainstream, but was very much talked about at the Avnet Tech Games.

Jason Wilson, an adviser of the Rose Lane Programming Club, was among the attendees. Rose Lane is designed to teach elementary school students how to program.

“Everything is about technology, in terms of where the ‘good jobs’ are,” he said.

His club aims to prepare young people for a future when math, science and medicine are the dominant areas of study.

“Even if you’re not programming code every day, you need to understand how technology works in order to work in those three accelerating fields,” he said.

Wilson does not want kids to grow up believing that programming is “magical” but that it can be easily understood. And young people at the Tech Games proved they are not afraid to submerse themselves into the new age of programming.

Cordis Cleaveland, a 17-year-old enrolled at Chandler-Gilbert Community College, has taken a serious interest in robotics since a very young age. Cleaveland has been spectating since the very first Tech Games in 2006 and says that going inspired him to get into NXT [Lego programming software] and learn how to build robots. He said he sees himself “getting an aeronautical degree and then working at NASA.”

The Avnet Tech Games included an event for elementary and middle school students: the Mini Robot Competition. It was there where young boys and girls revealed that, like Cleaveland, they foresee programming to be the foundation of their career. Two members of the Laguna Robotics team, Hannah and Izzy, said they see themselves becoming engineers who build robots that help people “save time and save energy.”

The adolescent attendees of the Avnet Tech Games, along with Wilson, showed no fear of technology blending with future employment but are passionate and excited for the change.