Code Camp Success Leads To Tennessee Code Academy Expansion

Friday, November 8, 2013

Tennessee Code Academy hosted its first two code camps this month in Cookeville and Chattanooga. The camp focused on teaching 12 to 18 year olds the basics of computer programming, specifically HTML and PHP. Each student was tasked with developing a website, complete with forms and databases on the back-end. 

Elton Cranfill, curriculum architect, was pleased with the two weeks. He said: “Our team had the opportunity to meet and share our passion for code and programming with some great young minds and I’m pleased to have been able to work with Sammy and the TN Code Academy Code Camps this year.”  Mr. Cranfill, partner at Ciphertek, developed the curriculum while Brett Farris taught and conducted the two camps. 

Since hosting the camps in these locations, TN Code Academy has been contacted by numerous communities about hosting a camp in their region. STEMSpark, the East Tennessee STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education hub, is already working with TN Code Academy to host two camps in the Knoxville region in March. 

“I have fielded numerous calls about future partnerships throughout the state, and even outside the state,” said Sammy Lowdermilk, director of communications and technology at Biz Foundry, which produces the code camps. “We are excited about the potential of creating a talent pool of students that will enhance the workforce here in Tennessee. We cannot thank Ciphertek, Nimbus Group, WTCI, Infosystems and Launch Tennessee enough for their great support.” 

The two weeks also featured guest speakers and tours of local businesses and facilities. Luke McCampbell of MagiQuest spoke to both groups about developing games and the opportunities for programmers. Daniel Ryan, lead web developer for Obama for America, spoke to the Chattanooga camp about his experiences on a presidential campaign as well as being the residential technologist for GigTank, a Launch Tennessee accelerator program in Chattanooga. The students in Chattanooga also were able to tour the Electric Power Board’s  data center at the end of the week. WTCI, the Chattanooga PBS affiliate, hosted the camp and has already requested another camp during spring break (April 14-18, 2014). 

Paul Grove, CEO of WTCI was pleased with the partnership, “WTCI’s mission is to engage, educate and inspire a lifetime of learning and exploration.  The students who participated in the TN Code Academy explored HTML, PHP, app development, and more during the fall break camp in the WTCI media lab and their enthusiasm for learning made us all proud.”

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