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Dec. 14, 2018

Computer science students mentor local youth during Hour of Code

By Grace Niemeyer, communication assistant


Northwest students assisted Maryville Middle School students with computer programming projects during the Dec. 4 Hour of Code. (Submitted photo)

Northwest students assisted Maryville Middle School students with computer programming projects during the Dec. 4 Hour of Code. (Submitted photo)

Students in Northwest Missouri State University’s School of Computer Science and Information Systems joined Maryville Middle School students on Dec. 4 for an “Hour of Code.”

Launched in 2013, the Hour of Code initiative is celebrated annually during Computer Science Education Week with the goal of helping students see computer science as a fun and creative field that is accessible to all ages.

Students in Northwest’s chapters of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and the Association for Computing Machinery's Council on Women (ACM-W) organized and planned this year’s event to assist Becky Wynne, an exploratory science teacher at Maryville Middle School. Hour of Code is one of several events the organization plans throughout the academic year.

“The Hour of Code provides the students an opportunity to be exposed to computer programming and the logical thinking behind it,” ACM President Jack Hill, a junior cybersecurity major from Kearney, Missouri, said. “Many students are not given the chance to take any type of computer programming courses while they are young.”

Coding activities varied from grade to grade as the Northwest students worked in local schools. Fifth graders worked on iPads to create apps while sixth grade students worked with microbits on holiday-themed projects. Seventh and eighth grade students created superhero masks and holiday sounds.

Hour of Code also helps children develop problem solving and critical thinking skills while they are tasked with progressively more complex problems.

“There is always that moment that a student is faced with a hard challenge and you can start to see them frustrated,” said Hill, who also helped with Hour of Code last year at a Maryville elementary school. “Sometimes they might need a little push down the right path, but it is always worth it to see them throw their hands up in the air and yell ‘yes!’ because they were able to complete the challenge.”

According to Code.org’s 2015 annual report, 90 percent of parents want their child’s school to teach computer science. The report also found 75 percent of Americans believe computer science is “cool” in a way it wasn’t 10 years ago, and 67 percent of parents and 56 percent of teachers believe students should be required to learn computer science.

“Programming is important because every career now requires an understanding of technology,” Hill said. “We are not necessarily trying to convert every student into being a software engineer, but rather getting them to understand the logical thinking similar to what the computer is executing when being used.”


For more information, please contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704 | Fax: 660.562.1900

Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468