Computers are everywhere, touching nearly every aspect of our lives — but surprisingly, fewer schools teach computer science now than were teaching it 10 years ago.
“Teaching kids to code is just as important as teaching them any other language,” stated Apple CEO Tim Cook on December 9th, 2015. “And the younger they start learning it, the better.”
This sentiment is echoed by the Rumson School District. Both Educational Technology teachers, Mark Panas of Deane-Porter (K-3) and Chris Macioch of Forrestdale (4-8) and their students have joined in on the largest education event in history: The Hour of Code.
To participate in Computer Science Education Week, during the month of December, every one of the Rumson School District’s K-5, as well as select 6-8th grade students, were among the over 2 million worldwide learning the importance of code and the basics of computer programming skills.
The Deane-Porter and Forrestdale schools are registered through https://studio.code.org. The site contains a wide variety of coding lessons that are appropriate to learners of all skill levels including Kindergarteners. It contains over 200 hours of online course and tutorials that walk students through the coding process. The lessons use characters and settings from Star Wars, Angry Birds, Frozen, Minecraft, Disney Infinity and Flappy Birds.
Students were introduced to the lessons during their scheduled computer classes, and will continue to learn programming throughout the course of the school year. Each student accesses the lessons through a link specific to their class. In addition, each individual student has a unique access code which allows them to also explore and complete the courses at home while allowing their computer teachers to monitor their progress. The differentiated activities provided on the site allow each student will work at their own pace and skill level.
“To code means to problem solve,” said Mark Panas. “Students analyze the task, visualize the steps to complete it and then use try and check strategies to program and find solutions.”