Owensboro Middle School South will be hosting its second “Hour of Code” event until 4 p.m. today.
Coding is using a series of letters to develop computer software. “The Hour of Code” is a global movement during Computer Science Education Week, which runs from Dec. 3 to 9.
“’The Hour of Code’ is organized by Code.org, reaching tens of millions of students through a one-hour introduction to computer science and computer programming,” said Sydney McFadden, the Computer Help Desk technician at OMS South and North. “It is a global movement that believes students of today are ready to learn the critical skills for 21st-century success.”
“The Hour of Code” is a global event that is rapidly growing, according to McFadden.
“Looking at the map on Code.org, I saw that we have several schools in Owensboro participating this year,” McFadden said. “I do not recall very many took part last December.”
During “The Hour of Code,” at OMS South, students will do hands-on activities to learn how to code their own games and apps.
McFadden said it is a free event for the sixth through eighth-graders McFadden has invited and students who attend will have options to choose from activities like Minecraft, The Grinch, or Robots — just to name a few — and she tries to choose something that she thinks students will be most interested in.
“One-hour tutorials are available in over 45 languages and Code.org has lots of them,” McFadden said.
This year, McFadden has recruited high school students from Owensboro Innovation Academy to come teach the 1-hour session on coding.
Students that participate earn a certificate and prizes will be handed out throughout the event to help make things a little more fun.
“The goal of ‘The Hour of Code’ is not to teach anybody to become an expert computer scientist in one hour,” McFadden said. “One hour is only enough to learn that computer science is fun and creative, that it is accessible at all ages, for all students, regardless of background.”
McFadden’s goal is that these students gain the confidence that after one hour, they can learn computer science and can use this skill for other things.
“Computers are everywhere, changing every industry, but fewer than half of all schools teach computer science,” McFadden said. “Only 26 states have created K-12 computer science standards and Kentucky is not one of them yet. Girls and minorities are severely underrepresented in computer science classes, and in the tech industry.
“Doing activities like this, I feel it helps encourage girls and show support that they are not alone and it is okay to be interested in computer science,” McFadden said. “After we had our event last year, I had several students ask me throughout the year if we would be having another event or they would tell me about how they were coding in their free time. Whether I have five or 50 students participate, I feel that this day is a success and our goal is accomplished.”