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Students Tackle Computer Language with Hour of Code

December 12, 2016 – For at least one-hour last week, nearly every student in West Ada School District learned how to code using computer programs designed for instruction and exploration as part of Computer Science Education Week.

Meridian Middle School kicked off their Hour of Code celebrations last Monday morning with a school-wide assembly. Students watched inspirational videos about computer coding, and met special guests from Hewlett Packard and Verizon before navigating through coding programs in advisory class.
During her advisory class, English teacher Becci Carmack encouraged everyone to learn something new about coding. “Their future may not include computer science per se, but every last one of them will need technology in some form or another. I don't want their ignorance to handicap them. Some students will discover a love for this and pursue it.”
Carmack integrates technology into many everyday lessons in her classroom. She readily describes the importance of a technical education in concert with traditional core subjects. Though students may not code regularly, they understand the unique computer language provides the relevant and interesting programs they utilize throughout the day on their devices.
“We treat technology like the tool it is. Checking data, looking up information, creating projects, taking notes, taking quizzes, practicing grammar/writing/reading skills, emailing questions, shooting a quick photo of a group project or partner's notes, checking the class website...and the list goes on,” Carmack shared.
Just a few miles across town, students who have discovered their passion for technology led Hour of Code efforts at Crossroads Middle School with a flipped assembly. Student Tech Whisperers guided peers through a series of programming instructions while teachers supported and even learned code, too.
“The Tech Whisperers are the student tech-squad here at Crossroads. They are the first in the go-to lineup of a team here at school when technology just doesn't work,” Todd Knight, physical science and pre-engineering teacher explained. “During Hour of Code, the Tech Whisperers were responsible for troubleshooting issues students had with tablets on the fly.”
Meridian and Crossroads middle schools were just a small part of the Hour of Code movement, developed as a counterpart and immediate instruction tool for Computer Science Education Week. Across West Ada, students in kindergarten through 12th-grade participated in one way or another.
“I saw students working at all different levels of proficiency and doing all different kinds of things; the common denominator was their engagement. I was surprised and delighted with how engaged kids were,” Carmack boasted. “I wish I knew more about the basics and had more time to practice or implement. I'm not too interested in the higher levels, but I do love the practical technology part! I hope they see I'm open to learning and growing; I want them to see that failure or embarrassment doesn't stop me from trying.”
For more information about computer coding, please visit Hour of Code