More Than Just an Hour

Across the Village Campus children were hunkered down in collaborative groups. Keyboards were clacking, students were laughing, and lines of code were flowing. During the week of December 4, over 160, Kindergarten through Grade 8 students joined the 153,911 Hour of Code events going on across the world. This global movement is designed to demystify "coding" and offer students an introduction to the field of computer science.

Students were introduced to various interactive coding projects and tutorials. Those with basic coding skills joined intermediate coding projects, and continued to build on their technical skills. HPA's K-8 Educational Technologist, Shannon Doak, created a resource website filled with tutorials and activities that students were able to interact with.

Kindergarten students learned the thought processes of coding, by dragging digital blocks into a coding spot, and then using the blocks to solve problems. One teacher remarked on how engaged the students were, and how the coding tutorial taught the students to complete the exercise in as little steps as possible.

In Grade 2 Art, students used coding to draw designs on ice, in the digital world of Elza and Anna from Disney's Frozen. They coded instructions for Elza to draw winter artwork into the ice by skating around a frozen pond. Later in the Grade 2 classroom they controlled an astronaut in space to complete tasks using the Blocky coding language, learning looping, if/then statements, and creating tasks in as little coding lines as possible.

"A couple days after the coding experience a first grade student came up to me in the hallway and said that he had such a great time coding that it's something he's excited to do at home now,' reflected Shannon Doak. This week represented the importance of creating a sense of wonder and boosting student engagement through the use technology in the classroom. Students felt empowered and left the sessions with a better understanding of computer science.

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