Writing the future, one line of code at a time

Students learn computer programming essentials

Students know how to play video games, and now some know how to start designing them. Lower, Middle and Upper School Bears learned the essentials of computer programming when they participated in “Hour of Code,”  a global initiative that reached millions of students during Computer Science Education Week (December 8-14). Thanks to “Hour of Code,” Landon students in Grades 3 through 9 learned to write basic computer code and experienced how to create mobile applications, video games and other technologies they use every day.

Academic technologists (ATs) in each division — Michael Fisher in the Lower School, Laurie Sears in the Middle School and Dr. Tara Northcott in the Upper School — engaged their classes in discussion about why it is important to understand computer coding.

“The boys and I discussed that coding underlies everything they do in their technical lives, whether it’s working in Microsoft Word, playing a video game or sending a rocket into space,” Sears said. “And we talked about how a lot of things they do with writing code have relevance to their academic lives: following directions, proofreading, paying attention to detail, revising and overcoming frustrations.”

Fisher, who since September has taught coding in his Lower School technology club, was excited to introduce all of his students to the subject. “Exposing our boys to coding is vital,” Fisher said. “Our place in the world is basically going to depend upon future generations being able to understand how computers can make their lives better — and if they understand the language, they’re already at an advantage.”

For many students, “Hour of Code” was just the beginning. According to Sears, Middle School boys plan to continue their coding education with a club dedicated to “Minecraft” and another to beta test educational video games. And next year, coding will be integrated into the Lower School curriculum — a move that is sure to please at least some Bears.

“It’s great when you write code that works and you can see the results on your computer,” said fifth grader William Amorosi ’22. “Coding is a lot of fun.”