The week of December 9th was the ‘Hour of Code’ week. Students from all over the world are encouraged to learn computer code through online tutorials. Many influential people like President Obama, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Will.i.am, and Chris Bosh support the challenge in an effort to create interest in computer science for students in the U.S. Computer programming jobs are growing in our future and as of now there is only 2.4% of students graduating with a computer science degree. Computer science develops students computing skills, critical thinking and strategic planning. It is not just about using a computer it is about creating technology. It is absolutely a 21st century skill.
A few fourth and fifth grade classes at Monticello Central School are partnering with Code.org for the Hour of Code. Our task was to complete game-like exercises, which borrow graphics from Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies, student use a visual interface to drag-and-drop commands that move a character from one point to another. They’re guided by accompanying videos from Chris Bosh, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg that explain concepts like repeat loops and if-then statements. Our students were immediately engaged. Their conversations were analytical and full of strategy as well as a willingness to help each other. Even though some reached the level of frustration they didn’t want to stop. What surprised me most was when students wanted to do over the same puzzles to use less lines of code.
Why code? I say, Why not code. If learning a new language is best to learn when young why not learn a computer program language.
The goal of code.org is that by 2020, computer science will be recognized and offered as part of the math and science curriculum in every school.