Friday, December 12, 2014

Hour of Code at Pioneer Middle School

This week, Pioneer Middle School students joined millions of people worldwide for the Hour of Code.  The Hour of Code is an event designed to expose people to computer programming.  There are many interesting jobs within the computer science field, yet many of these jobs go unfilled because people lack the computer skills needed to be successful in these jobs.  The Hour of Code helps to introduce the concept of computer coding in an extremely fun and engaging way.

Last year, about fifteen million people participated in the Hour of Code.  At the time I am writing this, over 69 million people have already participated!  Out of the 69 million participants, I am proud to say that 74 of those participants were Pioneer Middle School students.

The Pioneer Middle School Hour of Code event took place after school on Wednesday, December 10th.  Publicity for the event was provided by Panther Productions, a student-run group responsible for creating Pioneer's amazing video morning announcements.  Any student with permission to attend after school programs was welcome at the Hour of Code, but participation was completely voluntary.  Did I mention that 74 students participated?  SEVENTY-FOUR!

When students came into the library, Mr. LoBianco and myself gave the students a very brief overview about coding and the activities appropriate for the Hour of Code.  Students were able to access the different coding activities through a Symbaloo organizer located on the library website.

Students were then given the option to work with a partner or independently on coding activities.  Since the library did not have enough desktop computers to accommodate the large group of students, many students grabbed laptops or iPads and found a comfy corner or table.

On the website, there were two beginner coding tutorials that students really enjoyed.  These tutorials included characters from Angry Birds and from the movie Frozen.

Mr. Weinberg from CA BOCES came to help!

Students tried many different coding activities.

Some students worked in pairs. This helped with difficult problems.

iPads, as well as computers, were used for this activity.

These sixth grade students are considering a career in computer coding!

No space at the library desktops!

Teamwork in action.

 The beginning coding problems were pretty easy, but the problems definitely got more difficult as the tutorials progressed.  It was great to see the teamwork that students displayed while persevering through the more difficult problems.

One of the greatest things to happen during our Hour of Code was to witness the fun that students had with this activity.  Computer coding might seem like a scary concept, but students genuinely enjoyed what they were learning.  This was evident by the huge smiles we witnessed during the event!

The student on the left celebrated his birthday at Hour of Code!


Although many students went home on the 3:15 bus, there was a great group of students that chose to stay and code with us until 5:00 PM.  These students had completed the initial tutorials and were working on creating more advanced projects.  Students created their own games and apps.

A student working on creating his own "Flappy Bird" game.

Completing work on the initial tutorials.

Students tried out the games created by their peers.
A sixth grade student uses Bitsbox to create her own app.

An eighth grade student using mad coding skills to create a tennis game.

Mr. LoBianco assists a student with Bitsbox.
Probably the best part was hearing about how students want to continue coding activities long after the Hour of Code is over.  Two sixth grade girls have plans to code professionally when they are older!  After the holiday break, the library will be offering additional time for coding both during and after school through the library's new makerspace.  Stay tuned for more information!

To continue with coding activities, visit the Symbaloo on the library homepage:

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