Draper Elementary fifth-grader Gabe Harward likes to ride his bike, read and play basketball and indoor soccer. He also likes coding, he discovered, when his school recently participated in the worldwide event, the Hour of Code.
“I like how I’m learning how to code from games I know such as ‘Angry Bird,’” Gabe said.
Gabe said this has motivated him to want to make his own computer app strategy game and possibly, work with computer programming when he’s older.
According to http://www.code.org
website, the Hour of Code is the first step to introduce children to computer science by participating in the largest learning campaign in history. In one hour, students can learn the basics of computer science and nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity.
During the week of Dec. 8-12, Canyons School District students in several schools, including Draper Elementary and Corner Canyon High, joined President Barack Obama and 52 million people worldwide to learn computer coding.
Educational technologist Camille Cole said that it will give students a chance to understand more about what they’re already doing on the computers.
“We want to give students an idea of coding and show them what a code looks like,” she said. “For example, many of our fifth-graders play ‘Mindcraft’ and by learning coding, they gain the aspect of how it works.”
Cole has offered Sphero Club, where students learn to control a robot toy, before school at Draper Elementary this fall and now, after introducing students to coding, will offer a coding club in the spring.
Many careers, from fashion design to automobile technology, incorporate computer design and share ideas through digital technology, she said.
“Computer science is where jobs will be, and this allows them to create video games, not just play them. The more they are exposed to it at a younger age, the more they will feel comfortable and jump in feet first. When they’re doing this, they are thinking more than they realize and figuring out more than some people think possible at a young age,” she said.
Canyons School District Director of Career and Technical Education Janet Goble agrees, saying students are gaining skills not only in computer science and coding, but also in critical thinking, problem solving, math and teamwork.
“When elementary-age students participate in the Hour of Code, we’re breaking barriers, and kids realize that they are learning skills that will benefit them in the future,” she said. “We have a computer technology graduation requirement, Exploring Computer Science, and these elementary kids already are being introduced to skills the same as our high school students.”