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First Code to the Future Epic Build

 Code to the Future Epic Build
Code to the Future Epic Build
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This semester three elementary schools, Northwoods, Blue Creek and Parkwood, are involved in a new computer science immersion program known as “Code to the Future.”

Over the course of 10 weeks, students learned block based coding. Curriculum developer and technology coach Stephanie Flynn said students accomplished much in a very short period. Using the creative learning community known as Scratch, students, kindergarten through fifth grade, programmed their own interactive stories, games or animations and were able to present those projects to parents and administrators as part of Epic Showcases held Dec. 6 – 8. “The Scratch environment helps kids learn to programme in an easy, fun way. And it is a powerful way to teach kids creative thinking and logic through programming,” said Flynn.

Northwoods Principal Gail Pylant said the methods integrate both programming and game design, giving students a well-rounded understanding of how to utilize technology to create. “This is a paradigm shift for kids; we’re transitioning them from being just players to being creators,” she said. Pylant noted another positive outcome with the program. “Students often sought out help from one another, working as a group to solve problems with their individual projects.

Pylant said this lays the groundwork for learning more advanced coding. “Working with coding has been a real learning curve for the teachers, but they have risen to the challenge and model exemplar lessons.”

Flynn said this is the first of three Epic Builds for the three schools this school year. “Each one will increase in difficulty. The second cycle will include visual/spatial and robotics programming and the third cycle will include text coding, syntax and Java programming.”

With the direction we are needing to move in terms of computer science – being able to provide computer science at a very high level - we need to start in the early grades, said Dr. Lesley Eason, associate superintendent of Instructional Services. “We need to use the language and the productivity and the products of our children really being able to interact with computer science, as something else, not a stand alone, as something we could integrate into all our classes,” said Eason. The feeder schools to these three elementary schools will be part of the program so children will be able to continue their computer science curriculum as they move to middle school and high school. After the three schools go through the implementation a few years, they will be able to train other schools, said Eason. “So we will be able to build out this computer science curriculum in all our elementary and middle schools.”

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