LOWVILLE — “It could have gone better,” said Workforce Development and Business Director of Community Services Kathleen Morris. “But we learned a lot.”
For the first summer session with the Lewis County JCC Education Center in operation, Jefferson Community College officials scheduled a series of five tech-focused weeklong Kids’ College workshops costing between $150 and $170 for each week, that began on July 8 in addition to the Kids’ College series held on their main campus in Watertown.
The workshops used the Black Rocket online platform harnessing popular video games as inspiration to teach programming and other skills.
With registration numbers low, Ms. Morris said they combined the planned two age-related sessions daily into one session for all ages at their main campus as well as the Education Center.
In Lewis County, six children participated in the first workshop, Minecraft Modders. learning programming basics like introductory coding, scripting and logic statements, but that was the only week of the five scheduled that met the four-person minimum to hold the workshops.
The fourth-week workshop focused on virtual reality came close with three registrants; however, the other three workshops only had one child that had been registered for all five workshops signed up.
Ms. Morris said that a different pattern from previous years emerged in both locations and in workshops and courses for adults: people waited until the last minute to register.
Unfortunately, Ms. Morris said, by that time instructors had already been cancelled for the day.
“When we start a course for the first time, even if we lose a little money on it, I still want it run,” said Ms. Morris, noting that holding the courses is the best possible advertisement.
The low response this year has Ms. Morris thinking about next year’s options: maybe outdoor workshops or a different topic or still tech-oriented but related to farming or something more practical to the area.
She said ultimately, the point of the Education Center is to give the community opportunities to learn more about the things that interest them, so she is determined to find out what that will mean for kids next summer.
“I’ve got to do my homework a bit more,” Ms. Morris said, “I think I’m going to hang out at Tops [Supermarket] and ask people, ‘What would you like to see?’”
To give Ms. Morris ideas for next year’s Kids’ College at the Lewis County JCC Education Center, email her at email@example.com.