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Students Throughout Township Learn Basics Of Computer Coding

Franklin Park science specialist Barbara Walczyk assists students with “binary bracelets” Dec. 8 during the “Hour of Coding.”

 


Students throughout the township participated in a world-wide program Dec. 8 designed to introduce them to computer coding.

Called, aptly, the Hour of Code, the 4-year-old program boasts millions of students in more than 180 countries, according to the program’s creators at Code.org. The coding is usually done during the annual Computer Science Education Week  in December.

At Franklin Park Elementary School, students in Deborah Walczyk’s 1st Grade science class learned how to equate the binary code of 0s and 1s to the alphabet, represent the numbers with colored beads and make bracelets. The bracelets spelled out “FPS.”

Starting children off learning to code is best done early in their educational process, Walczyk said.

“I think the earlier we start to introduce children to code, the more they’ll go into computer programming and computer science,” she said. “These are fields that can help make you very successful, and they can help solve problems.”

“That’s great to help build students’ problem-solving skills,” she said. “It’s got math, it’s got science, it’s got logic, it’s got literacy, it’s got pretty much every standard you can think of Incorporated into it.”

Walczyk there is “always a shortage of computer scientists, especially female computer scientists.”

Elsewhere in the school, Lindsay Sena’s 4th Grade students were using their laptop computers to “drag-and-drop” coding elements in games. The elements made sounds or made characters in the games take specific actions.

The exercise, Sena said, allowed the students to instantly see the result of their coding choices, and also allowed them to collaborate.

At Cedar Hill Preparatory School on Cedar Grove Lane, students completed the Hour of Code during technology classes, said Darin Patrick, a school multimedia teacher.

The school will host an Hour of Code event on Dec. 13, he said. “During this time, students will be working together to create digital stories and video games through the use of coding techniques. The introduction of computer science to the students is our goal, but we are also making sure to emphasize the importance of collaboration for our community.”

The YingHua International School on Laurel Avenue in Kingston introduces coding concepts to students as young as 4 years’ old, said Michelle Tan, the school’s director of administration.

“A number of non-computer activities are lined up to help explain how coding works and that students can be the writers of ‘program’ for something to work,” she said. “Aside from the Computer Science Education Week, YHIS has year-long coding classes as an elective class once a week where students from 1st Grade and up are free to sign-up.”

At Thomas Edison EnergySmart Charter School on Pierce Street, students in the grades 6, 7 and 8 Java programming classes use the “MIT Scratch” program, which is similar to the Code.org program used by other schools, said Oguz Yildiz, the school’s lead person.

THre were a number of activities at St, Matthias School.

The school’s “accomplishments include web research and coding the hot new Disney team of Moana and Maui as they maneuver through various puzzles and defeat the Kakamoras,” St. Matthias’ Beth Lubowecki said in an email. “Other students have chosen to code in Minecraft or even CandyCrush. Mr. Alan Olegario, SMS parent and Field Engineer at Microsoft, visited the school on Monday to discuss the effects of computers in the world today in the fields of engineering, medicine, education and beyond. He also discussed career options and future possibilities that lie ahead, encouraging the tech-savvy youth to explore their creativity and imagination.”

“Students in the Independent Learning Program, a select group of higher level learners in 7th and 8th grade, have volunteered to learn ACSLogo, a Logo Intrepreter for the Mac, so they can become classroom assistants for a new afterschool Computer Coding class scheduled for January,” she wrote. “Mr. Jeff Beck, alumni parent and science executive will be the lead teacher.”

At Central Jersey College Prep Charter School, students “have built programs based on a block-programming structure such as Moana: Wayfinding with waves or Mak[ing] Music with Scratch, website based on the HTML and CSS coding guidelines as well as more complex lines of code written in programming languages such as Python, JavaScript, etc.,” Alsi Cebe, the school’s spokeswoman, wrote in an email.

“The Hour of Code events expanded beyond the Computer Science curriculum at CJCP,” she wrote. “The students utilized the international versions of the programs in Spanish and Mandarin and applied the concept of geometry during the programming session in the math classes.”

“The ‘Hour of Code’ week has become an annual tradition at CJCP where the entire school connects to raise awareness that programming constitutes a significant component of the literacy skills which in an agentic manner support the holistic well-being of the contemporary societies,” she wrote.”

 

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