Schoot Beat: Future computer scientists

Maggie Thelen, Director

Instructional Technology

 

Rockford Elementary students joined millions of other students from around the world in celebrating The Hour of Code the week of December 5th. Students in all schools became budding computer scientists and programmers solving puzzles with Angry Birds, Moana, Minecraft, Star Wars, and Anna and Elsa, to name a few. We had students following the dance moves of Mario to learn how to follow short commands to translate into a dance move, and how small dance moves translate into an entire dance. We also had students moving blocks around the screen (Blocky) to write lines of code to solve puzzles and other students coded directly in JavaScript since they understood the basics of the programming language. No matter where students were in their coding experiences, all students who participated were successful in writing code and solving problems.

Rockford has been involved in The Hour of Code for several years, but this is the first year that all elementary schools participated at some level. Due to the popularity of The Hour of Code, many schools will be forming after school Coding Clubs and giving students additional opportunities to hone their computer programming skills.

The Hour of Code is a global movement to bring awareness of computer science and programming opportunities to students during Computer Science Week. Rockford is joining other schools, organizations and businesses in spreading the word about the need for programmers and computer scientists in the work force. Our district is helping to break down the barriers associated with the stigma of entering the computer science field of study, especially the gender differences in those wishing to pursue this line of work.

Our society needs inventors, programmers, collaborators and creators. Teaching students how to code and write programs will empower them, stretch their minds and help them to see obstacles in new ways. Coding can start in the schools but students are learning that they can code anywhere. All of the resources and sites that were used during The Hour of Code are free and available to students wherever they have an internet connection. Since the introduction of The Hour of Code, many websites have been created to teach students as young as four how to code and they progress in difficulty and complexity the older the student gets, or the faster they understand the concepts of programming.

Take a moment and join the coding movement. Check out www.hourofcode.com and start your journey in learning a computer language and challenge yourself. We have come a long way since the advent of computer programming so join in on the fun!