At Durham CodeWise, students build technology skills for the future.

Like many parents, Teresa Hartsfield has spent the past few years struggling with an age-old (well, Y2K-old) question: How much screen time is too much?

“It’s frustrating as a parent to strike a healthy balance,” says Hartsfield, who lives in Durham and has two young sons. “I don’t just want them to play. [online games], so I’m constantly kicking them out and telling them to do other things – but at the same time, I know that this kind of exposure to technology is important. I know it will become a part of their daily lives as they grow up because it is becoming more prominent in every industry.

So when Hartsfield, a franchise consultant, learned about CodeWise — a growing franchise that offers elementary through high school students a curriculum on coding and robotics — she knew she wanted to open a location in Durham.

While two out of three STEM jobs are in computer science, coding is rarely taught to K-12 students, Hartsfield said. At CodeWise’s Durham branch, which started classes this week, students in grades 7 to 17 can develop a healthy relationship with technology while learning skills that will strengthen their future college and job applications.

To keep subscribers entertained, the CodeWiz curriculum includes classic online games like Roblox and Minecraft.

“In Roblox, there’s a set of tools where the kids can automatically drag and drop things into their world,” Hartsfield said.

For kids who prefer technology over social pastimes like sports, CodeWiz can provide a valuable social outlet.

“All these are there. [memes] About players being in a dark room and then coming out, and ‘Where have you been?’ It seems to say.” Hartsfield says. “You know, they lose days. But with CodeWise, you’re building critical thinking, team building, and social skills.

CodeWiz is offered as a monthly subscription, with coding courses available for $195 and robotics courses for an additional fee. In the future, Hartsfield hopes to provide scholarships to low-income students; The current subscription is being offered at a discount of 31.4159%.

Code Wise, located at 7001 Fayetteville Road in South Durham, will host an open house on Saturday, January 21 from 10 a.m. to noon.

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