REEDSVILLE — In today’s world, technology is everywhere.
One class at Eastern Middle School is helping to prepare students by helping them to learn computer coding.
There are 12 students in the class who have been divided up into five teams to take part in a competition league through Wonder Workshop. The students compete for a robot of their own, as well as $5,000 for STEM funding for the class.
The students in the class program the robots to act as grippers and blasters, as well as moving around the surface mat, among other tasks.
During December, K-8 instructional technology teacher Melissa Barker and the students in the junior high class worked with kindergarten-sixth grade students to learn robot coding.
These students worked with small groups to teach them the basics of computer programming using “Blockly” programming.
Many of the students said their favorite part of the class is working with the younger students to help them learn to program the robots.
Second year students in the program Kasey Glaze said that in the first year they learned a lot about coding and writing code on the computer, something she found interesting.
Now in her second year, Glaze said she is really happy with what has been accomplished in the class and really enjoys it.
“This is the future,” said Glaze, adding that she enjoyed teaching the younger kids.
Barker stated that the class borrowed some of the robots for the class from WOUB at Ohio University. There were different types of robots to be used with the students of the different grade levels, including “B-Bots” that looked like bees for the younger students.
“Computers are everywhere, changing every industry on the planet, but fewer than half of all schools teach computer science. Girls and minorities are severely underrepresented in computer science classes, and in the tech industry. Good news is, we’re on our way to change this,” said Barker in an email explaining the importance of learning computer programming.
“One of the most rewarding things is seeing the kids and trying to open their world to this,” said Barker. Barker has had three former students go into computer programming in recent years.
Barker explained that the programming and the work with robots helps with problem solving and critical thinking.
As part of Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 9-13), the students took part in the global event “Hour of Code”.
“With the Hour of Code, computer science has been on homepages of Google, MSN, Yahoo!, and Disney. Over 100 partners have joined together to support this movement. Every Apple Store in the world has hosted an Hour of Code,” said Barker.
The Hour of Code, organized by the nonprofit Code.org and over 100 others, is a global movement that believes the students of today are ready to learn critical skills for 21st-century success.
Students taking part in the class for the first semester of the 2019-20 year are divided up into five teams to compete. Teams and team members are as follows: Dashing Duo, Danielle Epple (7th grade) and Brayden Haught (7th); Robo-Sapiens, Kasey Glaze (8th), Josh Sobieski (8th) and Jenna Dill (8th); Robonauts, Ashton Warth (8th) and Evan Anderson (7th); Technologics, Sarah Morris (7th) and Sidney Dillon (7th); and The Dashing Divas, Anita Moore (7th), Xandra Moore (7th) and Kaylee Hollon (7th).
Sarah Hawley is the managing editor of The Daily Sentinel.