December 9th, Admiral Grace Murray Hopper’s birthday, was a time to celebrate computer science and coding,” says DASD Coordinator of Learning Information Systems Kim Bannigan. Admiral Hopper was a pioneer in the field of computer science. Students and staff throughout the school district were encouraged to celebrate and challenge themselves to learn how to write computer code. The activities were part of a nationwide campaign designed to get U.S. students interested in computer science.
According to an article written by Lyndsey Layton for The Washington Post, “millions of students from kindergarten through 12th grade learned computer code during Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15, as part of “Hour of Code.” 1
According to Bannigan there were a variety of activities at all grades throughout the week. Twenty-eight high school students participated in a “Coding study hall.” Third and fourth grade students at Morrisonville Elementary School used a program called Hopscotch to create code. Kindergarten students in some classrooms used Beebot. All 5th and 6th graders participated, as well as many staff members.
“Coding is like learning another language. Even for students who don’t want to be programmers, the thinking and problem-solving skills behind coding are essential . . . and can be fun,” said Bannigan. Bannigan said that District Technology Technician Mike Young was instrumental in preparing materials for students and assisting them in creating their first programs.
Students and staff used a variety of devices (from tablets to desktops) and software to creating programs. The Learning Information Systems Department provided staff with several ideas for online tools they could use in their classrooms or by themselves, such as: Hopscotch, BeeBot, Code Academy, Play Cargobot, Learn C++, Scratch from MIT, and Learning resources at Code Week
1 (“Week-long ‘Hour of Code’ campaign lures millions of U.S. students to computer coding”, published December 10, 2013)