Many kids are well-versed in a variety of apps, games, and computer programs. But do they know what goes into developing them? Every December, they take at least an hour to find out. In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, the Hour of Code has become a global movement to introduce students to how fun and easy coding can be. Laurel Springs students joined millions of other kids around the world to crack the code on computer science.
More Than 0s and 1s
As many of us are aware—especially now in this ever-evolving digital age—computers are an invaluable tool. They impact every industry in the world. Learning the art of coding not only teaches students about the importance of computer science, but it also helps develop problem-solving skills, logical thinking, and creativity. If students begin this journey early in their academic careers, they build a foundation for success for any career path, even outside the digital realm.
The Hour of Code is a great way to take the first steps down this path. This 60-minute primer on computer science basics is designed to remove the intimidating perception of the coding process. It was created to prove that anyone can learn the foundation of technology. Now, it has evolved into a global campaign, with support from over 400 partners and 200,000 educators worldwide.
So, why does Laurel Springs get involved? According to Curriculum Coordinator and Creative Computing Club adviser, Chad Lower, “computer science is in high demand, and as we process more and more data in the future, CS will be in even higher demand, I think. Some students don’t want to commit to an entire semester of taking a coding class, especially if they might not like it, but they will commit to an hour to see what it is about. Hopefully we can generate some interest in students now that will help them later in their life.”
When One Hour Isn’t Enough
On December 10, Mr. Lower hosted the Hour of Code event along with student club ambassadors. The event kicked off with an introduction to the “six big ideas related to programming, including, there are no mistakes in coding. If your code doesn’t work, no problem. Find out why and fix it. It is called debugging.”
Students from grades K-12 were then able to pick from 20 different coding activities including Moon Lander, Minecraft, and Roblox. While they could tackle the games on their own, there was a chat box open to interact with other students and share their thoughts on the event. Here’s what some had to say:
“My favorite part was getting to meet all these people who are also interested in coding.”
“Thank you! I personally have enjoyed it, so thank you for setting it all up again this year!”
“Yeah @Mr. Lower, this is such a great way to introduce people to coding!”
“My favourite part was getting to decide if you wanted to challenge yourself or not.”
“I am so happy! This was a ‘jumpin up and down’ event. One of my favorites!”
“I enjoyed exploring the newer languages, and Moon Lander was a great way to get a basic introduction to game development.”
“My favorite part of the hour: The whole thing.”
During the hour, students were also made aware of the Laurel Springs Creative Computing Club. Like all LSS clubs, these student-centered and run meetings are held regularly to discuss topics they’re passionate about. This particular club goes beyond coding. So far they’ve touched on a beginners guide to block-based coding in Scratch, chatting about computing in Discord, and this month they will explore coding a Discord Bot. The club has also explored subjects related to other fields related to technology, such as the Mars 2020 Rover and coding formulaic math shortcuts.
In addition to clubs, there are more online socialization opportunities for full-time LSS students, including a monthly LSS eGamers Hangout for those who want to talk about the latest and greatest in the gaming industry. Because, when it comes to offering students the best education possible, Laurel Springs says, Game On!