Yesterday, I had the privilege to join a 5th grade class at Pine Forest Elementary during their “Hour of Code”. During computer specials time with teacher Sharon Diaz, students are given an introduction to programming to demystify computer science and show that anyone can learn the basics.
The Hour of Code is organized by code.org to make computer science more accessible in schools.
U.S. Economy and Job Growth
According to stats from code.org, Computer Science is a top paying college degree and computer programming jobs are growing at 2x the national average!
Currently in half of the states in the country, computer science doesn’t count for math and science graduation requirements, but rather as an elective. Texas does allow CS to satisfy graduation requirements for math or science, but we need to do more to raise awareness and develop the interest of students in the early years. I think the Hour of Code is a great start and something that we can build on each year.
During my hour with these students, Ms. Diaz had us use the online tool, Tynker to first go on a Candy Quest (to learn some basics like simple commands, loops, and if/then statements). We then created animated cards by dragging and dropping blocks of “code” into a sequence and playing the result.
Of course, the students were eager to get to their computers and start “coding”. I enjoyed watching how each student tackled the same task a little differently, but ultimately coming to the same result for the Candy Quest. There were certainly no complaints and no-one was “off-task” during the hour.
I’m certain this hour of code accomplished it’s purpose and I look forward to seeing how we offer more opportunities for students to do a little more “tynker”-ing!
Did you participate in the Hour of Code?