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Local kids participate in global coding event

The Hour of Code seeks to demystify computer science for young learners
2016-12-06 20161206 Hour of Code KA 0009
Owen Shier, Kieran Bishop and Lucas Maszczakiewicz participate in the Hour of Code on Dec. 6, 2016 during their Grade 11/12 Computers class at St. Mary's College. Kenneth Armstrong/SooToday

Local students are participating in a global event to get kids moving beyond simply using computers to learning the science behind the code which powers them.

St. Mary’s College is one of the local schools participating in the third annual Hour of Code, an event taking place this week which seeks to get school-age children hooked on computer science.

Polly Garson, Computer and Communications Technology teacher at SMC, said computer code can be like learning another language for kids and could come in handy for all kinds of jobs.

“It doesn’t matter what career you get into, there’s a piece of technology we have to use. I think it’s important for them to understand what happens behind the scenes,” said Garson.

She said kids these days are very in tune with social media, but getting them to learn the code behind the programs can be intimidating at first.

“Once they try coding for a little bit, they might not be so intimidated,” said Garson.

Johnny Console, who first became involved in coding during Garson’s class in Grade 9, is now in her 11/12 class.

“I am really heavily into computers. Coding is sort of like a second language to me,” said Console.

Garson said the simple games the children code during the event are helping to make them better problem solvers, even if they don't realize it.

“It is taking kids from asking 'why it isn’t working' to getting them to problem solve on their on. That’s when the light goes on. That’s what I love to see,” said Garson.

Hunter Lock, who is in Garson’s Grade 11/12 Computers class, is participating in his first ever Hour of Code.

“It’s a little complicated when you start off, but you get used to it after a bit,” said Lock.

Hoping to become a detective one day, Lock said understanding coding will come in handy when investigating computer crimes.

Kenneth Armstrong

About the Author: Kenneth Armstrong

Kenneth Armstrong is a news reporter and photojournalist who regularly covers municipal government, business and politics and photographs events, sports and features.
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