In preparation for tech-driven careers of the future, students from Eagle Crest Charter Academy are learning what it takes to excel in technology-related fields by honing their skills during the annual Hour of Code.
The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week, from Dec. 9-15. Students select the activities they would like to learn, including learning how to code loveable characters from “Frozen,” “Minecraft,” “Star Wars,” and “The Grinch.”
“Kids love to work on computers and if I can inspire one or two kids to go on and major in computer science, or even to take programming classes at a tech school, that will be a win,” said Nancy VanEenenaam, technology teacher at Eagle Crest Charter Academy. “It’s great to see students who struggle in other academic areas thrive in coding programs.”
One popular lesson that Eagle Crest’s students particularly enjoy is coding a “Dance Party,” where they make animals dance along to popular songs.
“Everyone should learn to code! Coding is creating and since everything is digital or has a digital component, to code is to create something,” said VanEenenaam. “There are millions of jobs that go unfilled in the U.S. because there are not enough computer science majors, so to fill those jobs, corporations have to find candidates from other countries.”
According to the Review Committees that sponsor Hour of Code, “participation of female students in computer science is only 20-25% of high school courses, university courses, and the workforce. During the Hour of Code, female students make up 50% of all participants.”
Eagle Crest has participated in the Hour of Code for the past six years. All students in second- through eighth-grade will participate in the online activities. The program is also offered as an option to first-grade students, which about half of the class will partake in.
The Hour of Code creates an opportunity for every student to learn computer science. Participation helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic, and creativity, and by starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path.