King’s Academy, December 17, 2015 — Last Sunday’s global Hour of Code event wasn’t just for the computer science whizzes to showcase their programming skills; over 100 King’s Academy students in grades nine through 12 participated in the movement aimed at encouraging students to learn more – and ultimately get excited – about computer science.
In the Gallery and across campus, kids “sat down and wrote their own programs” for fun tutorials that included Star Wars, Frozen and Minecraft, explained Director of Educational Technology Ali Shameem.
“The event offers students a conceptual understanding of how programs function – the basic fundamental concepts and structures – in order to get a sense of what’s going on in the applications we use every day,” Shameem said.
As technology continues to grow exponentially, it’s important for today’s younger generation to “take control” and grasp a stronger understanding of “computational thinking” which includes problem-solving, creativity and abstraction, Shameem added.
This is the second year King’s has participated in the event, which is currently hosted at schools in nearly 200 countries across the globe during Computer Science Education Week in December. This week King’s also welcomed visiting professor from the University of Bradford, Dr. Hassan Ugail, who gave computer science students sessions on visual computing and taught them about the importance of questioning knowledge through the resources available to them.
But there’s more to this event than just teaching students the difference between process-driven applications (such as Microsoft Office) and programming. Shameem hopes that over time people will learn to overcome the misconceptions and stereotypes typically associated with information technology. And at King’s, things are quickly heading in that direction.
“Our students are required to take a programming course before graduation, and this is the first year we have a student – a female – sign up for AP Computer Science!” he said. “Computer science is becoming integrated in every single domain – medicine, engineering, you name it. We have the opportunity to open up new avenues and provide a kind of learning that’s different from other schools.”