Sandhya Padala worked in the computer science world for years, but when her young son wanted to learn more about coding, she realized there were not very many viable, high-quality resources in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. So, she founded Rex Programming, an after-school program and camp that teaches kids ages five to 18 computer programming and robotics.
Rex Programming offers a whole new classroom experience, and every class is taught by both a computer scientist and a trained educator. The program was originally launched in Irving, but has expanded to locations in Addison/Coppell as well as Charlotte, North Carolina.
Since the program’s launch in in 2014, it has expanded from a dozen students in a subleased classroom to over 2,000 students across multiple states. Just this month, the teaching staff at Rex Programming has doubled, with after school programs available at three schools across the Dallas area, and plans to expand to new locations this year.
“My goal is to give kids not only hands-on practical coding knowledge,” Sandhya Padala, founder and CEO of Rex Programming, told Dallas Innovates. “But also help them develop the computational thinking skills that will turn them into problem solvers and technology innovators that any employer would love to have on their team.”
Rex Programming offers over a self-paced curriculum-with over 20 programming units and eight engineering units. The more advanced learners can design complex robots and circuits, as well as create video games, mobile apps. Students can also design websites using different technologies like HTML, Java, and Mobile App. AP Computer Science students also have programs available to them.
Younger students and beginners can create computer animations, play games, and program robots to complete various tasks, aiming to increase their digital literacy.
The program also ensures that every student receives training in internet safety.
“It’s very critical that every kid needs to have a fundamental understanding of how computers think regardless of what career they’re going to choose,” Padala said in a CEO Money TV interview. “They could be doctors, the could be NFL players, or do a marketing job, it’s very important they have an idea of how computers think.”
As technology improves, Padala believes that coding is becoming a more important skill, as well as a larger part of of the general public’s lives. Understanding technology, as well as how it thinks and works will grow in importance in the future. She wants her students to be on the forward side of the digital revolution taking place all around us.
Padala started the program when she and her family moved from Milwaukee to North Texas.
Half the classes focus more on coding skills, while others have drones, robotics, and more. Rex Programming prides itself on making all of their classes both fun and educational. The program offers a wide variety of classes, and students can learn introductions to AI, Data Science, Cyber Security and more.
Careers in the computer science are growing rapidly, with over 530,000 jobs currently open according to Quartz. Padala got her undergraduate and masters degree in computer science herself, and worked as a technology design director for Harley-Davidson before launching Rex Programming.
Currently, they are trying to raise money to improve their learning management system and add more gaming programs.
Rex programming courses give students “a sense of accomplishment and also makes them think,” Padala said in the same interview.
Students are able to move through the program’s courses at their own pace, and every unit has a combination of open-ended tasks, quizzes, instructions, and hands-on activities.
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