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Students Engage in Hour of Code

By Julian Willetts Dec 9, 2016

The Hour of Code global event between December 5-11 provided an opportunity to promote computer science principles and discover how we can solve societal problems using technology. YISS students, from the youngest in the elementary all the way through high school, had a range of opportunities to grow in their understanding of computer science and the role it plays in the world.

While people typically think of computers when they think of coding, our youngest students in the elementary engaged in unplugged activities with paper and pencil, solving problems that required algorithms and loops. While the language sounds complex, these concepts are carried out regularly in our everyday lives when doing activities like making a sandwich or brushing our teeth. This concept could then be translated to an online activity where students could sequence steps to solve a challenge and have the computer repeat a function multiple times without getting bored, something a computer is very good at.

The language used in lower grades to get started with coding concepts is Blockly, brick-like, buildable chunks of code. An exciting addition to the opportunities offered were the Sphero robots which use the same Blockly language to be controlled. It was amazing to see students have a real world interaction with something they coded and see the outcome of what they had asked the robot to do.

Middle school students were offered daily coding challenges during flex period, but with a number of coding clubs already running in the middle school, seeing students coding was nothing out of the norm. At a MS-exclusive event, Girls Who Code shared their journey over the past 18 months of participating in the Technovation Challenge, where students compete globally to design an app that solves a local problem. Our guest speaker for the event was coder Paul Falgout, a contributor to source code libraries such as GitHub. Hearing the journey of someone who currently works in the industry was inspiring and also demystifying.

Google engineer, Baturay Akaslan, shared his journey and experience in the field of computer science with our high school students during a special assembly to kick start the Hour of Code. He talked about his college major, how he started coding, life working for a big tech company, international career mobility, and more. In the second half, a Q& A session was held where students asked questions ranging from favorite Google projects to work-life balance and YouTube copyright algorithms.

A large emphasis of the movement behind Hour of Code is to increase interest in and diversity of technology-focused careers. At YISS we are blessed to have multiple opportunities for students to get involved in technology-based interests, including clubs like Girls Who Code and Guardians of Technology, to the robotics and programming classes offered in the MS and our AP Computer Science A course in the HS.

If your child wants to continue learning or was not able to participate in Hour of Code, we have compiled the resources used in the various divisions here for your reference:

https://support.yisseoul.org/support/solutions/articles/2000010187


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