It’s the most wonderful time of the year… although, the “time” is not what most would expect!
The first week in December is known as Computer Science Education Week. This annual “celebration” is held in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9th, 1906). Its main goal is to promote the importance of computer science education to K-12 students, as it is becoming a foundational field for every 21st century career or field of study.
Learning the basics of computer science prepares students for a world that is increasingly dominated by technology. According to CODE.ORG, more than 50% of all jobs in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) are computing jobs. These jobs are growing at two times the national average; however, there aren’t enough graduates to fill them!
Mazo students are fortunate as they are exposed to computer programming (coding) year-round. In December, it becomes an even bigger focus as most of the centres are code-centric. Nevertheless, this does not mean that each centre is screen-based.
Students have been exploring binary codes, hiding secret messages within bracelets. They have been learning Braille, one of the most important codes for those who experience vision/sight challenges. Similarly, they have been tinkering with Morse Code, another key communication tool in risky, emergent situations. For those who like to move and build, groups have been creating dance sequences using laminated coding blocks, and building LEGO mazes, directing “Mini-Figs” from start to finish.
In terms of computer programing, the opportunities have been endless.
They have also been exploring some popular coding apps on the school iPads. Younger students have been dabbling with Tynker. They have been tackling the Space Cadet challenges, toggling between block coding and lines of code within Swift. Junior and Intermediate students have been learning to code within Swift Playgrounds. They have been working through Learn to Code 1: Fundamentals of Swift, moving Blu, Byte and Hopper through various levels.
Students have been programing robots like the Ozobot, BeeBot, Dash & Dot, and Sphero SPRK+. The younger students have been using apps like Blockly and Wonder to help them navigate through their coding journeys. The older students have been learning to write actual lines of code using Swift Playgrounds. Swift has also given them their wings! Students have been piloting the Parrot Minidrones (Spider and Cargo). They have written lines of code, allowing the drone to take off, move left, right, up and down, and safely land. In addition to the drones, students have been coding a Skoog: a customizable electronic musical instrument that has been designed to be inclusive and accessible.
The library will remain a hub of activity throughout the month. New photos will be uploaded often… check back soon!