An Hour of Code…and More

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More than 100 students at H.B. Thompson Middle School volunteered an hour of their time after school to participate in the national Hour of Code, which engages people to learn computer programming by making it fun and intuitive.

Through the site code.org, students were introduced to the block coding method (Java) by learning to program their own “Minecraft,” “Frozen” or “Star Wars” video games. They had a choice to use blocks of code to lead Steve and Alex of “Minecraft” through different adventures, explore the magic and beauty of ice with Anna and Elsa, or build a galaxy far, far away.

Seventh-grader Justin Marks is a member of the HBT Middle School Coding Club, which launched this year. He is one of a dozen students who meet regularly to learn about and share their interests for writing code.

“We learn about different languages for coding,” said Marks. “Ever since I was a young kid, I always wanted to do something like this, where I can program and make something work for me.”

Jamie Borsett, who co-advises the Coding Club with Nicole Mosko-Delgado, has seen interest in the club gradually grow during its inaugural year and expects that the Hour of Code will inspire new students to join.

“There are a lot of jobs that require coding, so it’s something that’s good to know,” said club member Emily Goldman, who enjoys programming in Scratch, Python and Java and looks forward to furthering her knowledge of computer science in college.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Thomas Rogers stopped by the middle school to observe students and speak with them about their interest in coding.

“The coding languages students are using today are very visual in contrast to what I was taught,” he said. “Then, the emphasis was on precision with syntax, but now, the new tools focus instead on the procedures so students are learning the logic behind the code and really enjoying it.”

Schools throughout the Syosset Central School District participated in the Hour of Code in observance of National Computer Science Week.