Hour of Code Aims to Spark STEM Interest

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Students from throughout the state are participating in events this week designed to "demystify" the world of computer programming. The Hour of Code is connected to 2016 Computer Science Education Week, a grassroots movement that kicks off nationally Monday. The Indianapolis-based TechPoint Foundation For Youth has deployed more than 60 volunteers who are working with over 500 students at Harshman Middle School in the city.

Program Director Maggie Cline says activities surrounding Hour of Code help show students that gaining computer science skills can be "fun to do and achievable."

She says the foundation's focus on the Hour of Code continue to grow. "This is our third year doing Hour of Code, so we started out doing Hour of Code at one IPS school. This year, we're doing three different IPS schools, thanks to partnering with our corporate partners who are able to supply volunteers for us." She says the point of the program is to expose students to the world of computer science at an early age, something not all industry professionals had the opportunity to experience.

In all this week, the foundation says it plans Hour of Code events involving over 1,000 students with help from more than 100 volunteers.

Salesforce employee Lindsay Siovaila was one of the tech industry volunteers at Harshman and said the Hour of Code helps give students a look at what goes into the programs and apps they use everyday. "I really believe strongly that learning how to code is just as important as learning math and science and any other skills that people have learned in skills over the years," she said. Siovaila believes coding can help students bring their ideas to life.

The organization and its Hour of Code Volunteers will also be at Sidener Academy for High Ability Learners on Wednesday.

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