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Thursday, 12 December 2013 19:04

A Lawrence elementary school switches gears for the Hour of Code

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New York Elementary School in Lawrence set aside time this week to learn computer programming. It was part of a nationwide campaign to recruit 10 million students to try one hour of computer science during Computer Science Education Week.

"The kids have absolutely loved it. They're constantly saying, 'when can we do it again? When can we do it again?'" said Nancy DeGarmo, principal.

On Thursday, 5th graders in Melissa Turpin's class got their turn to participate in the Hour of Code. Tutorials featured lectures from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates with artwork from popular games like Angry Birds. The students had one hour to get through 20 levels of computer programming.

"Every time you play a game that has all kinds of codes that you have to get, at first it's really challenging, but as soon as you get there you think well now I've just learned something from a game," said Tristan Chavez, fifth grader.

DeGarmo heard about the Hour of Code from a parent and wanted students to understand how computers actually work. She wanted students to learn how to be in charge instead of blindly using the equipment.

"By learning about coding right now at least the kids get a taste of it and it might be an area of interest for them when they get a little older," DeGarmo said.

According to DeGarmo, the students have enjoyed the Hour of Code so much, she thinks they'll ask to doing more lessons about computer science in the future.

"I think that all kids should learn how to code computers and apps because it's part of our modern day and age so I think this is a really good idea," said Violet Amouak, fifth grader.

While students enjoyed the Hour of Code, DeGarmo said not everyone was willing to switch gears in the classroom at first.

"Teachers were very worried about it to start with because they weren't comfortable getting into coding, but they found out that it's really pretty simple," DeGarmo said. "It's logical thinking, working together collaboratively, and that's what the kids are enjoying too is that collaborative learning."

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