Challenging all schools to get involved in this year’s Hour of Code Initiative
Learning to code can be life-transforming for students
Editor’s note: The following article was written by Joseph Stymeist, Career Technical Education Coordinator.
I’m challenging all of our schools to participate in this year’s Hour of Code event during the week of December 8-14. For many of our students, this single hour might just be the event that transforms their lives.
Classroom teachers are the key to making an Hour of Code a wild success. I’m asking teachers at every one of our schools to get involved and inspire their students to be a part of something amazing. No prior experience is necessary.
I remember taking my first computer programming class in the summer of 1974. We used punched cards to do the coding and then submitted stacks of them to the off-campus computer center for processing. Typically, a week or more would go by before getting the printed output. Even with this seemingly archaic system, I became enthralled with writing computer programs that taught a machine how to solve complex problems. The process of writing computer code seemed to turn on parts of my brain that helped me develop excellent critical thinking skills. As I encounter day-to-day challenges, I tap into the abilities I developed long ago while punching those tiny holes into cardboard cards.
We’ve come a long way since then. Computers are much easier to use and today, there are many different computer programming languages, many of which no longer require typing long lines of code. Because of my personal experiences, I’m convinced that computer programming is a fun and exciting way for our students to learn and nurture important problem-solving skills.
There is a marvelous organization that got its start last year by introducing computer science to students all over the world through its Hour of Code event. The Hour of Code organization provides tutorials in over 30 languages that can be completed in a single class period. These exercises can be accessed from your computer, tablet, smartphone, or with no computer at all, and children as young as 4 years old can participate.
If you are a parent or student, talk with teachers or your principal to see if your school will participate in the exciting Hour of Code event.
A big part of my job as the coordinator of career technical education is to support programs that prepare students to be both career and college ready. Strong critical thinking and problem-solving skills are what we want to see in all our students. Let’s work together to help make an Hour of Code happen in a big way this year and have fun while we prepare our students to successful in school and in life.