Students at Jacksonville Country Day School (JCDS) recently participated in the “Hour of Code.” The Hour of Code is a global movement to get students interested in computer programming. According to Code.org, almost 150 million students in over 180 countries have tried the Hour of Code since the program’s launch in 2013.
Organized by technology specialist Cristina Knodel and librarian Amy Kucsak, the Hour of Code event at JCDS kicked off at the Character Education assembly on December 11 at 8:30 a.m. Older students were paired with their younger “buddies” to engage in collaborative coding projects on their devices. Pranav, who is in 3rd grade, described coding as “using a computer to program an app or website by typing commands.”
The coding activities included Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code
, Minecraft Hour of Code
, and Code with Anna and Elsa
and are available for free at Code.org
. Early learning students programmed Bee-Bots, which are simple robots that children program to follow a simple route.
Students described the experience with coding as “hard,” “fun,” “challenging,” “problem-solving,” “thinking,” and “mind-stretching.” Agreeing with others that coding is fun, 4th grader Gavin added: “It is important because if you get good at it, you can be a professional and make things run smoothly.” Specifically, he said, “We can make hospitals run better.”
According to Code.org, computer science “helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path.” Students agreed. Aaron, who is in 5th grade, said “Coding now is important because when we grow up we will remember and know how to get started in technology.” Yasmine, in grade 6, echoed Aaron. “If we like coding now, we can be professional coders when we are older,” she said.
According to students, coding is not just about finding a good career as an adult. Alexandra, who is in 5th grade, said “Coding is important because it helps you think harder. You have to figure things out, not just write stuff down.”
Students also realized the connection between programming software and robots. “Robots, games, it is all the same,” said Lisa, a 6th grader.
Clayton, who is in grade 6, touched on the impact of technology to our society. “Without coding, there is no technology. No cars. No phones,” he said. “By teaching coding we are setting them up for success in the future,” Mrs. Knodel said.