Loess Hills Elementary in Sioux City, a computer programming specialty school, participated in the international Hour of Code last month during the week of Dec. 4. According to its website (www.HourofCode.com), this movement included tens of millions of students in over 180 countries. One-hour tutorials were available in over 45 languages and participants ranged in age from four to 104.

At Loess Hills, where computer programming is woven throughout the curriculum every day, the Hour of Code event reaffirmed the benefits of coding.

“We held several events throughout the week, and we combined two classrooms together to collaborate and explore coding programs,” said Cindy Bigbee, a fifth grade teacher and technology teacher at the school. “It was a great week to celebrate coding and see the kids deep in thought!”

Under the leadership of John Beeck, principal, the students had a coding assembly featuring the West High School basketball team in the gym one day; a gaming technology instructor from Western Iowa Tech spoke to the students another day; and a “hackerspace” was held on the final day so that students with similar interests could meet, socialize and collaborate.

When the students were asked why they should learn to code, the answers were indisputable. 

“Coding will prepare us for future jobs and technology will continue expanding,” said one very astute fifth-grade student.

Schools serviced by Northwest AEA have access to free multi-media resources, which can be checked out through the AEA’s Media Library. A sample listing of those coding resources is available here.