Beyond the Hour of Code

Guest post by Kim Wilkens, Co-Coordinator of Computer Science Initiatives

12102014_Hour_of_Code_I_blogThe Hour of Code is a movement that began in 2013 with the ambitious goal of getting 10 million students coding for an hour during Computer Science Education Week in December.

Why is getting our students coding so important?

The organizers cite several reasons, including projections that show our educational system is struggling to prepare students for the jobs of the future as the number of computing jobs being created is far outpacing supply, as well as statistics that show a widening gender and diversity gap in tech. I believe there is a more fundamental reason – learning coding and computer science concepts empowers students to take control over how tech affects their lives, their culture, and their future.

Before the Hour of Code began last year, St. Anne’s-Belfield School was already thinking about coding, computer science, and computational thinking. “The development of higher level thinking skills enhances and broadens a student’s ability to innovatively problem solve. The acquisition of these skills through the process of coding is limitless and provides the necessary foundation to access the power afforded through technology to impact the world around them,” wrote Michele Mathieson, Learning Village Technology Resource Coordinator.

Coding activities were planned at each grade level in the Learning Village during the 2013 Hour of Code. Follow-up activities included students teaching educators coding concepts they had learned, and coding incorporated into some classroom projects. 12102014_Hour_of_Code_II_blog

Today, I have seen firsthand how that spark initiated a movement to integrate computer science into our curriculum. As I was thinking about how we would participate in the Hour of Code this year, I realized that we are beyond it. I’ve already been in classrooms throughout the Learning Village where computer science learning is happening and coding is being integrated into projects. This morning, I’ll be meeting with the Coding Club students who are taking their skills to the next level.

We may be beyond the Hour of Code, but we’re not done with it. We are now in the unique position of being role models and providing leadership to other students, educators and schools who want to get started coding. As our students learn new computer science and coding concepts, we will encourage them to share their coded creations as well as their knowledge through student-created tutorials. We’ll also be sharing our journey of integrating computer science into the curriculum with the world. You can follow the journey at bit.ly/cs4lv.

 

 

 

 

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