Computer Science, Gaming Collide With 'Hour of Code'

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Elementary school students in the Metropolitan School District of Decatur Township in Indianapolis are getting an early lesson in coding through the international Hour of Code program. The initiative is designed to give people an introduction to computer science and coding, and Lynn Hodgkin, elementary media coordinator for the district, says it takes a game-centered approach to teaching coding to kids.

The students are participating in the Hour of Code at the district's new Innovation and Design Hub, which opened in October. In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Director Brian Bulmer agreed with Hodgkin that the Hour of Code program allows kids to learn coding without even realizing they're leaning. 

"Lynn and I worked together to get them in our Innovation and Design Hub, which in our district was really developed to appear as a present-day work space for students," said Bulmer. "So to bring our elementary kinds into an environment that doesn't look like school, there's flexible seating that allows them to move around and collaborate with others, really using the pure coding model, showing off some of the things they've created and even how they can make or personalize it to do whatever they ask it to do, I think has been an exceptional learning experience for them." 

Bulmer says he hopes the experience will engage students in computer science and coding beyond the walls of the hub or the district's schools. He says the teachers who have brought their students in for the Hour of Code have talked about continuing the coding efforts in their classrooms as "free time" activities because students have responded so positively.

Computer science is also growing as part of the district's curriculum. Bulmer says there are already computer science classes available at the high school level with a cybersecurity class coming in the future. A computer science class at the middle school level will be introduced in the next academic year.

Bulmer adds the Hour of Code event is one of a few that are helping to get the Innovation and Design Hub off the ground. He says plans are in place for more activities to get more students in the space in the future. Last month, Bulmer appeared on Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick to talk about the facility, which you can watch by clicking here.

Bulmer says the program allows kids to learn coding without even realizing they're learning.
Hodgkin says the program takes a game-centered approach to coding.
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