New computer kits coming to SPAR rec centers to help with coding

Computer kits at SPAR to help with coding

SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - A new partnership is underway that will help students learn how to code, and help Shreveport transform into a Smart City.

The City of Shreveport, Louisiana State University Shreveport, and the International Youth Foundation have all partnered up to provide 200 Elecrow Raspberry Pi Advanced Educational Kits to teach kids how to code.

The International Youth Foundation purchased these $65 kits, and 125 will be placed in SPAR rec centers across the city. The other 75 will go to LSUS.

“(This will) create an initiative that teaches our youth, that’s in walking distance of their houses, and has assistance from the tech community at large here,” said Shreveport’s Chief Technology Officer Keith Hanson.

These computers will allow students the ability to code and learn things like how to power security cameras, learn about gunshot detection, monitor air and traffic quality, and even find lost pets.

Not only that, these computers and the skills students are learning from them will help transform Shreveport into a Smart City.

Hanson says a Smart City is where a city can reduce costs, increase public safety and increase the quality of life using smart city technology.

“It cost a lot of money if you’re going to go with these venders to outfit your entire city with smart technology," Hanson said. “But if we can do $65 computers as opposed to thousand dollar setups....that kind of thing is very interesting to me.”

Computer kits to transform Shreveport into smart city

Dr. Julie Lessiter is the Vice-Chancellor of Strategic Initiatives at LSUS. She believes these new computers will help them train their students and provide them with more workforce development skills.

“We really hope that our graduates can walk into the workplace and be able to improve outcomes as soon as they walk in immediately,” she said.

Dr. Lessiter says they will introduce classes with these computers that students can sign up for starting in the fall of this year, and they will also have adult boot camps for people wanting to learn about this new technology.

The university will begin using these computers this summer with their K-12 camps.

Step Forward is another non-profit in the city will also play a role in this partnership.

“We will help coordinate, support the training and the skill sets developments for local workforce programs, LSUS (and) all of their mini-programs, and also the city of Shreveport,” said Program Manager Halena Jones.

The computers will arrive here at the end of January will be available for use in a few weeks.

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