In photos: Elementary students take part in Hour of Code activities.

Hour of Code Provides Launch Pad for Year Ahead in Technology and Achievement

Six Grand Erie elementary schools took part in Hour of Code on October 1, which is part of a larger worldwide effort to encourage students’ exploration of computer science and technology. Students and teachers in Grades 1-6 were supported by the Ed Tech and Programs teams, which planned and implemented a variety of hands-on activities meant to inspire, empower, break stereotypes, and enhance achievement in other subject areas, all while having a whole lot of fun in the process.

“The unique thing about coding is that feedback is instant: either something is going to work or it’s not going to work,” said Miriam Lapeare, Educational Technology Teacher Consultant for Grand Erie, who visited each of the schools taking part. “So it’s a great way to reframe the concept of making a mistake as not being something that’s discouraging, but rather an opportunity to try something else.”

Schools structured the Hour of Code by utilizing computer labs and rotating to stations where students could test out new skills using various programs. There was also an “unplugged” component which presented the opportunity to design, plan, and work on procedural writing for coding tasks, no electronic devices required. Primary students worked on counting activities using Scratch Jr., students in Grades 1-5 practiced coding a robot to solve math problems, while older students had the opportunities to build a multiplication math game.

“Developing coding skills supports 21st-century competencies, and provides a great context for achievement in other areas,” explains Lapeare. “It’s an intentional way to work on collaboration, communication, innovation, self-directed learning, problem solving, and citizenship.”

The idea is to keep the enthusiasm around Hour of Code going through events and initiatives in the year ahead. The Ed Tech team continues to develop resources for teachers to support computational thinking in the classroom, adding to many supports available on the Ed Tech website. Going forward, the goal is to have all students participate in coding hours at each Grand Erie school, and to have elementary students begin their secondary-school years with a head start in using the tools and skillsets that help develop technological literacy.

Technology is embedded in Grand Erie’s Multi-Year Plan, with a collective goal of providing secure and reliable learning environments that allow students and staff to utilize technology in an effective and seamless manner. Increasing staff knowledge of the technology available for teaching and learning, and developing measures to better understand the impact of educational technology initiatives is part of the overall goal of Success for Every Student.

Students who took part in Hour of Code received a certificate, and classrooms that got involved and shared their learnings on Twitter were entered into a draw to win a class set of Hour of Code swag. To see some of the activities students participated in, check out the Ed Tech team’s profile on Twitter @GEDSB21C.

Photos by Grand Erie Communications

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