The Hour of Code 2013: APS students explore computer science skills and careers

image001Humphries, Usher-Collier Heights, and E.L. Connally are three of the APS elementary schools that recently participated in the Hour of Code.  Computer Science Education Week describes Hour of Code as an opportunity for every student to try computer science for one hour. During Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 9-15), over 10 million students and computer science enthusiasts participated in the Hour of Code.

Hour of Code served as a valuable time for students to learn and engage in computer science, opening their eyes to careers and emerging opportunities in the field. Statistics compiled by the Conference Board, National Science Foundation,  and Code.org show that computer programming jobs are growing at two times the national average, and by 2020 there will be 1,000,000 more computing jobs than people qualified to fill them. Georgia currently has 19,866 open jobs in the computer related fields.

Dominique Harbour, a computer teacher at E.L. Connally and member of the Atlanta Public Schools Innovative Leaders Program,  learned about the Hour of Code, and decided to register her school.

“I thought it would be a great and innovative way to introduce students to basic computer programming skills,” said Dominique Harbor.   “I hoped that my students would be able to understand the connection between the coding activities and computer programming, and I wanted them to understand the complexity behind what it takes to create all the technology we have access to.”

As members of the APS IT department went out to observe students throughout the district participating in the Hour of Code they observed computer science education at its finest. Students were actively engaged in challenges that required them to utilize high level problem solving and critical thinking skills.  Students identified  and found ways to correct their mistakes until they were successful in completing the activity.

Lavant Burgess, a fifth grader at E.L. Connally Elementary, stated, “I like how it made me think. I had to keep using different strategies to figure out how to get the robot to the right squares.”

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