Tencom hosts Code Camp at Mill Workspace

Sunday, June 18, 2017
June 13-16, Tencom Services and the Northwest TN Entrepreneur Center [NTEC] sponsored the 2017 Code Camp. The 4-day event was hosted from within The Mill Workspace, located at 217 S. Mill Ave.

RACHEL TOWNSEND

rtownsend@stategazette.com

Friday evening, 12 students participating in this year’s Code Camp, wrapped up their 4-day-long expedition through the realm of computer programming with demonstrations of the Scratch program and its function in simple videogame development, and how to connect the Raspberry Pi computer to the breadboard in order to interact with the games they developed by making LED lights turn on and off. Tencom/Mill Workspace owner Chris Donaldson, says many students even went as far as to create a Christmas tree light simulation, creating special buttons controlling the games they built.

“Scratch can be used on any computer and there is also a browser-based version at scratch.mit.edu. We could have taught Scratch on any computer but we decided to take this camp to another level and utilize the Raspberry Pi computer, which is a micro-computer, developed by the non-profit Raspberry Pi foundation out of Great Britain,” said Donaldson.

Pictured above, is one of 12 illuminated breadboards created by students attending Code Camp. Students learned how to connect the Raspberry Pi to the breadboard in order to interact with the games they developed by making LED lights turn on and off.

“The Raspberry Pi is a very low-cost item, less than $40, so it is a very cost-effective way to introduce kids to coding,” explained Donaldson. “Beyond education, we at Tencom, are coming up with real-world uses for our business and for our client businesses to utilize these devices for specific needs and we are demonstrating this to the class on Friday.

“We have used Raspberry Pis to create a camera system for our doors so that our techs can monitor doors from the call center at Tencom. We will be demonstrating a water sensor to alert if water gets on the floor in the data center, a temperature sensor to alert if temps get too high in a client data center, and an Amazon Alexa-inspired system just for fun.”

Sponsored by Tencom Services and Northwest TN Entrepreneur Center [NTEC] and hosted within the computer lab of The Mill Workspace, located at 217 S. Mill Ave., funding for this year’s Code Camp was provided by LaunchTN, and instructed, in large part, by Tanner Fry, who worked closely with Donaldson to develop the workshop into something interesting, fun, and of educational value to local students wishing to expand their horizons in the field of computer technology.

Twelve students participated in this year’s Code Camp, all of who were provided with instruction and hands-on training by Tencom Services owner Chris Donaldson and Tanner Fry. Pictured above, (Front row, L-R) Allen Jones, Tanner Fry, Darneasha Pickett, Brock Wells, Braden Massey, Corey Piskorski, Karley Jo Donaldson, Jon Welch, Skylar Davis, Chris Donaldson. (Back row, L-R) Gavin Nowlin, Parker Townsend, Colt Pannell, Printice Crafton, Jenna Claire Armstrong, Davis McCain, Dalton Osborne.

“This was Tanner’s first time teaching a class and it will be an experience that should propel him ahead of his class this fall at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Tanner is entering his second year in the Computer Engineering program at Knoxville, but already had over 38-hours of college credit before entering his first year. Tencom Services is proud to be able to provide Tanner with an opportunity to advance his own knowledge and understanding through teaching others.

“I think it is amazing that we are able to have a local student teach local kids in our new downtown facility, and ideally when Tanner graduates college, he will bring his talents back home to West Tennessee,” said Donaldson.

This year’s camp is the first of many to be hosted from The Mill Workspace, as the downtown business continues to spread its wings, drawing heightened attention to the downtown district. Donaldson says many of the parents stopping in to observe the projects of their children have commented on the facility’s modern design and inspired concepts.

A second Code Camp is currently being planned for the month of July. Details on the event will be updated by the State Gazette as they are made available.

Learn more about The Mill Workspace on FB, Twitter, Instagram and more about Tencom Services at: tencom.net., NTEC at ntecconect.com and LaunchTN at launchtn.org.

If interested in participating in creative and technical workshops at The Mill Workspace, follow their Facebook page as they will be announcing more classes for the summer for children and adults.

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