Having trouble with technology? Ask a young person for assistance. Working with computers, smart boards, iPads and cell phones is second nature for members of the Student Technology Assistance Team at James Hart Junior High and Millennium Schools.
They are marking their achievements this week by participating in the global Hour of Code program. This international program on computer coding is expected to reach young people in more than 180 countries. The Hour of Code is in conjunction with Computer Science Week.
The past few months STAT students have been working with Cherylyn Pesina, director of the Media Center for Hart and Millennium, learning how to properly care for computers and how best to give assistance to fellow students and teachers who may have questions or have difficulty with a computer program.
“We’re all about customer service,” Pesina said. “The students have trained in how to present topics and give helpful instruction,” including using informational videos created by eighth graders Olin Ortiz and Megan Bolling that are available for classroom viewing.
Pesina said she lets the STAT students create the agenda for the weekly meetings. Discussions have been varied—everything from game applications (apps), to how to care for and store iPads and laptops and how best to do outreach to students and teachers needing assistance.
Pesina said her ultimate goal for Hour of Code is to get kids hooked on computers and teach them how computers these days are integrated into every career. In the mean time, she wants to get the students interested enough that they’ll want to try some of the Hour of Code exercises at home.
Computer scientists write directions, commonly called code, that tell a computer what it needs to do. District 153 students start writing simple code: for example, how to make a cartoon character on screen move forward or backward. After mastering the basics, Pesina encourages them to learn to develop code that calls for the computer to carry out harder tasks.
She’s hoping to host a webinar over the holiday break so the STAT members can continue to work on computer coding at home and be comfortable working online.
STAT may be a teaching initiative, but students will tell you they’re having fun. “Coding is fun,” said seventh grader Josh Pedoske. “I like computers a lot.”
Contact Marilyn Thomas at [email protected]