December 7th through the 11th was the third annual Hour of Code at Burlington High School. Last year and in 2013, BHS students (Help Desk students in particular) were exposed to computer science through exploring the Hour of Code tutorials. This year the Hour of Code continues to expand at BHS. We had approximately 475 students school wide participate in the Hour of Code. The experience gave students the opportunity to apply their creativity, critical thinking and problem solving skills to complete a variety of tutorials featured by code.org.
After a brief introduction about computer science, including the job outlook and earning potential, students were directed to a digital flyer where they were able to select from four coding activities featuring Star Wars, Minecraft, Ana and Elsa, and Lightbot. In an effort to provide a personalized learning experience, students with pre-existing knowledge of computer science concepts were encouraged to explore the more difficult coding activities in the Beyond an Hour section of code.org. Here students could challenge themselves with HTML, Java Script, Python, and other computer programming languages. After the coding introduction, students spread themselves out in the Help Desk and the back of our library, grabbed their device of choice; either their iPad, Smartphone, Chromebook, or one of the MACs in the Help Desk, and started coding. Each day throughout the week, BHS math teachers Warran Zeigler, Lauren McAuliffe, Meghan Sheehy, Kyle Blanchette, Karl Liljegren, Tom Regan, and Brighid Boyle brought their Algebra, Geometry, and PreCalculus students to the Help Desk to participate in an Hour of Code. Computer Science teacher Meg Bednarcik brought her Computer Science students as well.
Friday of last week was the official day of code at BHS. It was great to see not only math classes participating, but science teacher Brianna Cheever and Foreign Language Department Chair Renee Dacey brought their students to join in the coding fun. We also had Social Studies teacher Mike Milton and Speech and Language Pathologist Colleen Jenkins give an Hour of Code a try. Even BHS principal Mr. Sullivan got in on the coding action and successfully completed the Star Wars tutorial! Josh Murphy, our Director of Student Information Services and a computer science teacher, helped facilitate the Hour of Code on Friday and the day was a huge success. Our ultimate goal is to get the entire school coding and we’re hopeful that will happen in 2016.
As a result of last week’s Hour of Code, we hope that students will dig deeper into computer science and explore additional coding tutorials on their own. Perhaps they will realize it’s a lucrative career option and will pursue computer science as a college major. We also want to continue to inform parents about coding and all that it has to offer to their children. Our virtual December Tech Savvy Parenting Night will feature the Hour of Code for parents, so stay tuned! Take a look at the Animoto below for an overview of the 2015 BHS Hour of Code!