Dyker Heights

McKinley students participate in Hour of Code

December 20, 2018 By Christina Grande Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Students helping other students is a key element in the way McKinley Intermediate School observes Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week. Photo by Christina Grande
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The Hour of Code has come to Brooklyn again.

This movement aims to introduce the concept of coding to students of all ages, all over the world.

At William McKinley Intermediate School at 7201 Fort Hamilton Pkwy., 70 classes — with a total of 1,873 students  — learned how to code during Computer Science Education Week from Dec. 9-15.

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In order for students to learn in the most efficient way, the school uses “code squads” to help whenever they’re needed. The code squads consist of students who are proficient in coding and are willing to help others.

The code squads visit classrooms and members walk around assisting students in need of help. The programs they use, like Scratch, for example, provide learning instructions for both regular-education and special-education students.

Margarette Desilus-Lacon has been teaching coding for three years now, and organized a group of students, also known as her “followers,” who are dedicated to the learning process. The program is only for sixth graders, but many of the older students are still committed.

“It’s the length of coding that amazes me with them, that they have the patience to sit there and do it because they actually enjoy it.” she said. “You know, when you’re a teacher, you don’t really know who’s listening and who’s grasping it until you see their work and you’re like, ‘Wow!’”

The subject of coding not only benefits students in high school or future careers, but provides a creative space for students to enjoy. These students are also learning patience and attention to detail when they’re creating extravagant projects.

According to code.org, there are 34,117 computing jobs available alone in New York, but only 3,801 computer graduates. There is enough funding for computer science education, but not all high schools require it, and there is no computer science curriculum for grades K-12.

Naomi Lehrer, a UFT Teacher Center site staffer, is an avid believer in teaching coding to children of all ages. Lehrer believes the concept of coding is important for future careers in this technological age.

“As we move forward there is more and more automation — cars driving themselves, smart homes, space exploration, medical robots. How can we survive without learning what makes them work?” said Lehrer. “These kids are our future engineers, doctors, mechanics. Even working at fast food chains, somebody programs the register. To be successful in any industry, they need to understands the components behind it.”

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