Computer Science week and Hour of Code™ are back again in 2018. This year I volunteered at a middle school in Raleigh. It was my 3rd time volunteering and another great experience! Read on to hear about the event…
What is Hour of Code?
Starting in 2013 the Hour of Code was introduced for Computer Science Education Week by Code.org. For 1 hour during this week teachers, students, and volunteers are encouraged to engage in learning activities which motivate and explore working with technology – in particular computer coding.
STEM is being taught more at schools; however, many schools do not teach anything about computer science. Filling the void are volunteers and teachers putting on an event to educate the students about working with computer code.
Since more and more of our lives are mixed with technology driven by software it is invaluable to learn how it works under the hood. As a volunteer, I try to demystify concepts to make them more approachable to young students.
My Day at Hour of Code
I spent time for a couple hours working with 4 different middle school classrooms. Working with younger people gives me hope about the future. They were very smart and engaged kids who will go far in life. I tried to accomplish a few things:
- Talk about myself and my career – while the event is not a publicity one for me, it does help to put a human face to explain a complex ideas. They need to know that it does not require special skills or secret knowledge to learn coding. Spoiler alert – one does not need to be good at math to study computer science.
- Demystify coding concepts – I break things down to smaller bytes so they are easier to digest. We go through a whirlwind tour of computer terms: what is code, who can code, where is code, when to code, why code, and how to code. Concepts like abstraction, algorithms, and logical detailed thinking is distilled.
- Encourage students to learn – working intimately with software is a fulfilling occupation. There’s something intrinsically valuable about building things that are useful to other people. With practice this is a very attainable subject to learn.
I want to thank the schools for putting on the event and the students for participating with zeal. Generation Z is smart! I hope to volunteer again next year!
Thanks for reading!
If you liked this post then you might also like: Hour of Code 2016 | Expose, Inspire, Teach