Sonya Cole-Hamilton, Chief Communications Officer
(972) 218-1433 office ● (972) 358-7227 cell
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, December 17, 2015
Lancaster ISD joins the Global Circuit with the Hour of Code
Lancaster, TX/ Lancaster ISD
As a district, Lancaster ISD recently participated in the global initiative, The Hour of Code, which coincided with the observation of Computer Science Education week (December 7-13). District leaders along with community leaders joined the students of George Washington Carver STEM 6th Grade Learning Center to dedicate an hour to write lines of programming code.
"It is important for Lancaster ISD students to participate in the Hour of Code because it is vital that our students be equipped with the skills they’ll need to compete at the very highest levels on the global stage," Kyndra Johnson, Lancaster ISD Director of STEM Education said. "This event promotes fun, purposeful engagement in our Information Systems and Software Design and Entrepreneurship pipelines."
This initiative, spearheaded by the nonprofit organization, Code.org, is designed to raise awareness of computer programming and its connection to robotics, technology development, the science of gaming and more. Lancaster ISD is working to educate its students about the major impact of computer science on our society and in our lives. During the activity, the students actually wrote codes to control games, robotic movement and online applications.
They were also introduced to activities that provided them a clearer understanding of how coding is connected their daily activities, such as social media, video gaming along with other technology.
Lancaster ISD Blended Learning Specialist Kimberly Lane was instrumental in bringing this initiative to such a large scale to the district.
"The teaching of computer science concepts will enable students to grasp a better understanding of the process of creating various types of technology," she said. "It will also help students, learn how to collaborate, communicate, problem solve, think creatively and logically in order to function successfully in this rapidly advancing technology-centered society."
The students also heard from professionals in the computer science industry such as Microsoft and local community leaders who explained the ease of coding.
Daniella P’souza of Aloha, simplified the concept of programming to G. W. Carver students during the pep rally with a few words.
"You are simply telling the computer what you want it to do."
UTA computer science student Peyton Casper was onsite to assist students with the coding projects and explained that the type of coding that the students created during this hour of code was focused on grasping the concept of creating methods and loops and putting them together to write a program.
"They are learning to visually associate actions with methods," he said.
Lancaster Mayor Marcus E. Knight and the Lancaster Area Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Steele stopped by to participate in the Hour of Code at Carver and had an eye-opening experience.
"Coding is a lot more difficult than it looks, but I made pretty good progress," Mayor Knight said. "It is amazing how fast the young people pick up on technology. It goes to show that the more that we can expose our students to these types of activities the better they will be."
Steele also joined the experience.
"Wow, what exciting hour this was!" he said. "The Hour of Code is an important tool to teach our students and get them ready for the next generation workforce."
Although computer science is sometimes viewed as a technical field, Carver student Malaya Day had a less daunting experience.
"It is like an easy game, like a maze," she said.
Another Carver student, Da’Niyah Adams agreed with Day.
"I actually got two certificates and it was new to me."
Lancaster ISD is aware of the increasing role of computers in society and works to educate students from Pre-K to 12th grades about the field of computer science. While computer science is an optional course in Lancaster ISD, experiences like these help shine the light on its relevance.
"This program will give our teachers training and expertise that will not only benefit instruction, but will enhance student learning through practical application, and introduces students to an area of computer science that can spark a new interest and offers potential for entrepreneurial development," Johnson said.
With the Hour of Code, computer science has been on homepages of Google, MSN, Yahoo! and Disney. More than 100 partners joined together to support this global movement comprised of students, community members, parents, business owners and celebrity individuals from around the globe. Last year, every Apple Store in the world hosted an Hour of Code event and even President Obama wrote his first line of code as part of the campaign.
Click HERE to view our Hour of Code video highlighting the activities at George Washington Carver 6th Grade STEM Learning Center.
The Lancaster Independent School District serves more than 7,000 pre-kindergarten through grade 12 students in 11 schools. Our vision is that all students achieve self-sustaining success and leave a lasting legacy. And our mission, in collaboration with parents and communities, is to ignite learning that translates into sustainable success for all students in an ever-changing society. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________
422 S. Centre Ave. ● Lancaster, TX 75146 ● (972) 218-1400