Inspire Idaho brings new opportunity

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  • Photo by TANNA YEOUMANS Attendees were able to play with the iPad’s and learn coding while playing with the Sphero Robots.

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    Photo by TANNA YEOUMANS Learners of all ages can participate in the Inspire Idaho program and learn coding.

  • Photo by TANNA YEOUMANS Attendees were able to play with the iPad’s and learn coding while playing with the Sphero Robots.

  • 1

    Photo by TANNA YEOUMANS Learners of all ages can participate in the Inspire Idaho program and learn coding.

BONNERS FERRY — On Monday, March 26, representatives from Apple Inc.’s Innovation Collective, and the University of Idaho came to the Boundary County Fairgrounds to promote a program called Inspire Idaho. Inspire Idaho is a free program that inspires rapid learning of application coding.

Coding is a type of computer language. It allows people to tell the computer, device, and programs what to do. Everyone uses this in their everyday lives, from the apps on cell phones, to computer programs, to the navigation system in newer cars.

With the rising usage of technology, there is a demand for more applications, and people to make them. This program opens up doors for anyone and everyone to learn a much needed skill and in turn, be a part of the trillion dollar and rising app industry.

Utilizing Apple Inc’s Swift programming language, people can learn the skill in an easy, hands on course. If a person wants to participate in the course but doesn’t have an Apple computer, the U of I has a lending program where they will lend the students the tools they need to succeed.

“From the top of the state to the bottom, Idahoans have enthusiastically participated in the Inspire Idaho 20 City Experience Tour,” said Charles Buck, the Associate Vice President, North Idaho Center Executive Officer and Inspire Idaho program co-leader. “We’ve welcomed hundreds of registrants including more than 40 percent females and a large majority without a postsecondary degree. We heard scores of great app ideas and look forward to bringing participants together in their communities to help folks realize these dreams and participate in the trillion dollar app economy.”

With the Swift program, it takes the field of error down exponentially by having a simple structure. For example, in other programs such as Java, telling the program or app being created to say Hello World!, it would have looked something like: /* HelloWorld.java*/ public class HelloWorld {public static void main(String[] args) {System.out.println(“Hello World!”);}}, but with more spaces and structure, that if even one space, letter, or symbol, is out of place, it wont work. With the Swift program, it would look more like this: func sayHelloWorld()?String{return “hello, world”}, which narrows the margin of error and also makes it more straightforward and easier to learn and comprehend.

A 10-year-old boy named Yuma Soerianto, who was born in Singapore and moved with his family to Australia, utilized the programs to make six apps which have taken off, and are available at the Apple store. There is another young man named Thomas Suarez, 12, from California who also created at least one app. The programs are straightforward, relatively easy to use, and come with a 24/7 support team.

Attendees at the gathering were able to play games on tablets, which were supplied by Apple for the presentations. The games are specifically designed to teach coding to learners of all ages. The younger audiences eyes lit up when the speakers began to talk about the robots, and their excitement was boosted when they were able to play with them. Using the program, the attendees were able to tell the ball shaped robots, called Sphero Robots, where to go and even what color to light up. The other apps used to help teach were Apple’s Xcode and Playground products on the Apple iPad.

“In Idaho, we are one of the lowest average wage states and the shrinking need for humans in certain industries makes a case for us to attempt to connect as many citizens as possible to rapidly-growing economies like app development. Old mining and logging towns alongside the reservations across the state will make this an exciting project for all. This program is designed to help you make more money, be a part of a new growing economy, and unlock the fullness of your potential,” said Nick Smoot, founder of Innovation Collective.

With the program being free, the U of I lending program supplying computers that are equipped with the appropriate programs, and a team of professionals to assist, this program is an open door for anyone to learn a skill in a rapidly growing field.

“I can’t wait to see young and old alike have a chance to write basic code and then watch it move robots according to these instructions. Experiences like this are necessary to remove the fear of the changing economy and allow for inclusive opportunities in our country. This kind of reimagining of education is especially necessary for rural states,” said Buck.

This program is also supported by Boundary County Library, as it goes hand in hand with the Fab Lab and all of the learning opportunities that the library offers.

“The Inspire Idaho program is a lot like Lynda.com, which we have here, where students can sign up for free,” said Craig Anderson, director of the Boundary County Library, who also attended the presentation. “Those two things, plus the Fab Lab, all go hand in hand to enhance a person’s education. You can come and learn all these different skills and abilities that you can turn right into a career, which can lead to economic development, which is what we’re all about here.”

There is a wide array of ways that local people can expand their knowledge, and promote their ideas, and the Inspire Idaho program is present to add to the growing list of things people can learn about and build relationships and careers from.

“I feel that it is neat that Inspire Idaho came here because they are giving the people the opportunity to do some things that they hadn’t been able to do before and to go directions that may lead them to positive parts of their lives,” said Anderson. “Not just economically, but also for their self esteem. It’s the same as when people walk out of the Fab Lab with something they created, and they realize they have skills that 90 percent of the population don’t have. It’s great that these things are in Boundary County and that people are able to use them.”

For more information: www.inspireidaho.com or www.apple.com/swift

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