Cracking the code

On Monday, December 8, Heritage students were introduced to a whole new language: not Portuguese, not Greek, but computer code. As a part of Computer Science Education Week, an international project to involve more students in computer science, Heritage AP Computer Science classes hosted an “hour of code” event during fourth, fifth and sixth periods.

Students learned the fundamentals of computer code, using the introductory curricula of various websites, including code.org, codehs.com, and codeacademy.com. The sites taught infomation such as JavaScript and the basics of code syntax (similar to the grammar of a normal language).

Heritage students participate in the Hour of Code. Students learned the basics of compute coding through several suppporting websites.

Heritage students participate in the Hour of Code. Students learned the basics of compute coding through several suppporting websites.

“The turnout this year was slightly smaller than I would have hoped for, but bigger than expected,” says Raina Morse ’15, an AP Computer Science student. “I think the best way to measure success will be to compare AP Computer Science enrollment next year to that of this year.”

According to code.org, 55 million students have participated in the Hour of Code. The project seeks to address the imbalance in the amount of computer science jobs that will be needed in the future in comparison to the amount of students who study computer science. By 2020 there will be 1.4 million computing jobs and a $500 billion opportunity for pay, but only 400,000 computer science students to take advantage of these opportunities.

But computer science skills are not only useful for students who might seek a career in that field. Any student can benefit from learning the basics of coding.

“Computer programming will be a part of almost anything students do in their futures. They need to understand how computers work and how to use them,” says Mike Rudolph, the AP Computer Science teacher and sponsor of the event.

The event has received attention and support from various world leaders, including President Obama. In a promotional video, he summed up the ideals of the Hour of Code.

“Don’t just consume things, create things. Take an hour to learn more about the technology that touches every part of our lives.”

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