Students at two Genesee County elementary schools, with the help of a Kettering University faculty member, were among millions of people around the world to participate in an “Hour of Code” as part of Code.org’s annual Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek).
Along with participating in a fun activity, the students also found out more about the potential diverse and impactful careers they can pursue through studying Computer Science. Dr. Jim Huggins, associate professor of Computer Science at Kettering University, visited fifth graders in Eureka McCormick’s technology classes at Dieck Elementary in Swartz Creek on December 7.
Huggins visited the fourth grade classrooms of Sheila Best, Rosemary Fitzgerald and Yvonne Duncan at Tomek Elementary in Fenton on December 10.
Along with helping students do activities, Huggins also shared information about Computer Science education and professional opportunities. Through the Code.org website, students practiced basic coding through Minecraft, Star Wars or Frozen-themed games meant to be fun and challenging.
“The kids really had fun with the activity,” Huggins said. “It was great to see how engaged they were.”
The Hour of Code is a global grassroots movement, created with a goal of reaching tens of millions of students in more than 180 countries. The program is a one-hour introduction to Computer Science, designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basic elements.
“The great thing about learning to code is that it taps into students’ problem solving skills,” McCormick said. “The students really persevered through the activity and tried to find solutions on their own.”
Computer Science Education Week -- held in recognition of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper -- is an annual program dedicated to inspiring K-12 students to take interest in computer science. Code.org organizes CSEdWeek as a grassroots campaign supported by more than 350 partners and 100,000 educators worldwide.
"I know that my students have been really interested in the Hour of Code website, and they've dug deep into learning how to code through that website. I contacted Dr. Huggins and asked if he could come here so they could see what computer science looks like in terms of a career,” Best said. “I feel like what he did with them today made them realize not only that there's different options for them to move forward with a computer science degree, but also that computer science isn't just about computers, it's not just about the screen, the device, the top product, but it's about solving problems. That's what I was really excited for them to learn. I think they loved it."
Huggins connected with the local teachers through the Hour of Code website and volunteered to participate in their classroom activities.
“It was a great way to engage with students in the community and share with them some of the many ways computer scientists impact society,” Huggins said. "It's important to encourage these students to learn how computers can be used to solve the grand challenges of the next century."