“Finally,” she cheered, after LightBot successfully lit up each tile. “That level was tough”
To the untrained eye, the iPad activity might appear to be just a game.
The educational tool actually taught Sophia, a fourth-grader, the basics of computer programming in a fun, exciting way.
“You have to think ahead and program how he’s going to move,” explained Sophia, a student at the Regional Center for Advanced Academic Studies.
Students nationwide, including those at Huron and Sandusky schools, congregated around computers and tablets to take part in the “Hour of Code” event this past week.
The five-day initiative aimed to get students of all ages participating in age-appropriate computer programming tutorials during Computer Science Education Week. More than 15 million students participated.
For many students, especially those in younger grades, it might be the only hour of computer science education they take part in this year.
About 90 percent of schools in the U.S. do not teach computer science, according to the “Hour of Code” website.
Also problematic: In the next 10 years, experts estimate 1 million well-paying jobs will be available in the field with few people trained to fill them.
The “Hour of Code” initiative strove to inspire students to learn more about programming and possibly pursue careers in computer science. Students can go beyond the hour and participate in activities from home, or during after-school programs.
“In the younger grades, it’s mostly getting them thinking about logic and problem-solving,” Sandusky Schools teacher Julie Martin said. “Then, those who are interested in learning more move on to more complex code writing”
At Woodlands Intermediate School, for example, many students expressed interest in creating an after-school club dedicated to coding, or possibly participating in coding games during indoor recess. They also used the LightBot program this past week.
“It’s tough, but it’s really fun” fifth-grader Jayden LaCrosse said. “I’m downloading LightBot when I get home”