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Stevenson students participate in an Hour of Code
Posted 12/21/2017 10:40AM

During the week of Dec. 4-8, 2017, students at Stevenson Elementary School celebrated Computer Science Education Week by participating in an Hour of Code. The Hour of Code is a global initiative  which was designed to introduce students to computer science, learn the basics of coding through tutorials and activities, and get excited about emerging technology. The initiative was launched by Code.org, a nonprofit organization dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation of girls and underrepresented students of color.

All Stevenson students, from kindergarten to 4th grade,  had the opportunity to learn more about coding in the media center. The youngest students coded on Bee-Bots, a programmable floor robot in the shape of a bee. Coding a Bee-Bot to move in programmed directions teaches students about sequencing, estimation and problem solving. Older students learn coding fundamentals through courses on the computer. The interactive and fun games work to increase computer-literacy in young students.

Many students at Stevenson have previous experience in coding. In 2015, English Language (EL) teacher Dianne Rae introduced students to coding in Code Camp, an after-school program. Initially, the club began with Rae’s EL students and was immediately a hit.

“They loved it and did so well, so I knew I had to figure out how to have an Hour of Code for the entire school,” Rae said.

After the first Hour of Code was held in 2015, students filled out an “interest questionnaire” which indicated that over 200 students were interested in participating in Code Camp. The program has now grown to a total of four after-school Code Camps with a different group of students each night during Learning Academy, an after school educational support program. Rae has also started a t-shirt initiative, where students can earn different colored t-shirts as they advance in their coding courses.

Coding has been growing in popularity among young students across the country, and the benefits that coding provides for students is virtually endless.

“Students learn computational thinking. They learn how to ponder a problem and then reduce it to small, efficient steps,” Rae said. “This is a coveted higher order thinking skill.”

Rae added that coding fosters creativity and allows students to build fluency in basic technology. According to the Tech Edvocate, a news organization that focuses on digital technology, in the future “not knowing how to code may be comparable to not knowing how to read.”

“Knowing the basics of coding will be beneficial for every job in the future,” Rae said. “By starting students early, they will have a foundation for success in any 21st century career they choose. This can definitely open doors to higher paying jobs for our students.”             

Rae said all students can find success and satisfaction in coding. “I know this is good for the kids in so many ways and I hope to keep promoting this and see computer science grow throughout our entire district.”

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