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Fauquier students to learn programming in Hour of Code

Friday, Nov. 27 | By Mark Grandstaff | Google+
All Fauquier County Public Schools will participate in the Hour of Code, billed as “the largest learning event in history,” during Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 7-13.

During the Hour of Code (actually any hour during that specified week), students can choose from a variety of self-guided tutorials emphasizing fundamental computing concepts. The event is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics. It is organized by Code.org, a public nonprofit “dedicated to expanding access to computer science and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.”

Instructional technology resource teachers and one additional teacher from all 11 FCPS elementary schools recently spent a day training how to implement the Hour of Code at their schools. While not all students at every school in Fauquier County will participate, significant numbers at each school will. Not only are the schools participating, but administrators and office staff in the School Board Office plan to participate in the Hour of Code on Monday, Dec. 7 at noon.

Patti Kershaw, instructional technology manager for FCPS, said learning about coding is important for all students in the school division.

“We want to give all our students the opportunity to explore coding, regardless of their future career path, for coding can unlock creativity and develop important skills such as problem-solving and thinking,” Kershaw said. “Exposing our students to the world of coding may open the door for some to a highly lucrative career path in computer programming as our nation is facing a severe shortage in coders.”

Kershaw said the school division is providing coding opportunities starting as early as kindergarten. She said last week’s day-long training, offered through Code.org, was helpful to the ITRTs and other teachers who will involve students in the Hour of Code.

“Our teachers were very excited to get started after the training,” Kershaw said.

According to Code.org, the Hour of Code will be a global effort with more than 100 million learners in 180 countries participating at 77,000 events worldwide.

Code.org literature states, “By exposing both girls and boys to fundamental computing concepts on a level playing field, starting with the earliest learners, we can inspire today’s generation of students to build technology.” Some of this year’s coding tutorials feature Disney’s Frozen, the epic film series Star Wars and the popular video game Minecraft.

“Our intent is not to stop at the Hour of Code. We want to provide these opportunities throughout the school year,” Kershaw said.

For more information visit https://hourofcode.com

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