Computer Science students bring coding to kids as part of national “Hour of Code”

Hans Janovy Meyer, page editor

The days of computer programming being an unreachable skill are in the rearview mirror. Coding has become more mainstream and accessible than ever. Starting your very own app or website coded in Java or creating the video game of your dreams in C++ are just a Youtube video and a free programming app away. The international program Hour of Code is striving to expand the number of people involved with computer science every year.

Taking place throughout the week of Dec. 3-Dec. 7, Hour of Code primarily consisted of one-hour courses designed to introduce people of all ages and experiences to computer science and get them involved in coding. “[The purpose of Hour of Code is] to kind of expose kids to the opportunities and to get them problem-solving and looking at how to create something with code and getting them excited about it,” Michael Walker, the district’s Secondary Technology Integration Specialist, said.

At EHS, students from AP Computer Science classes volunteered to work with students at elementary and middle schools, taking them through a number of activities that teach the basics of coding. The activities aimed to remove some of the barriers to entry associated with learning a programming language.

With names like Star Wars, Minecraft, Frozen, and Angry Birds, students are more attached to some of the Hour of Code activities because they feel more like games than educational activities. And while many of the activities are closer to games, they still teach the basics of computer science, using logic and technology to complete a task. There are also activities within Hour of Code that delve deeper into HTML, Java, and more for older Hour of Code participants who have the basics down. “My favorite part is that I want to be a video game designer when I grow up, so it would be cool to like, learn code right now. So I can get practice now and then become better eventually,” Soren Hegley, a fourth grader at Concord Elementary said.

“I really liked doing the Scratch animating my name thing. It’s super fun because you get to do whatever you want,” Nadja Rose-Hadziavdic, another fourth grader at Concord Elementary said.