“This is epic!” That was the reaction of a third grade student during the hour of code at Boght Hills Elementary. It’s an event being held nationwide, and also happening within the North Colonie school district. The week of December 7-11 marks “Computer Science Education Week”, with schools around the country participating in “The Hour of Code.” It’s a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to help students understand code and show that anybody can learn the basics.
Four classes of Shaker High School Computer Science and AP Computer Science students spent time with 75 third grade students, showing them how to navigate and use “Scratch,” a programming language that teaches how to code. Under the direction of their peers, students learned how to make interactive stories, animations, and games.
“It’s the bridge between not knowing what coding is, to being an actual coder,” said student, Lukas Velikov, who is in Carm Avellino’s AP Computer Science class. He says the fact that students in North Colonie are now exposed to new technologies at a younger age is a great thing.
“I hope they get the spark,” said Velikov. “When someone showed me coding at the early high school level, I got the spark and I really wanted to do it. These kids, if they can get into it this early, will only balloon with knowledge over time.”
“Technology is where we are moving in education,” added third grade Boght Hills teacher, Dawn Harriman. “Any opportunity the students have to use it is a great window for them.”
Students now have accounts in Scratch and the ability to access them from home. Click here for the website. While the hour of code was a single event, third grade teacher Leslie Carroll says she sees it as a foundation for future learning.
“I will be looking for opportunities to tie programming and Scratch into our third grade curriculum,” said Carroll. “I would love to have the kids create a video in Scratch to tie into a project they are creating in one of the content areas. If they’re interested in it, motivated, and want to use it, I will absolutely let them.”