Area students savor ‘Hour of Code’ experience

Roger Coda
Lecturer Denise Joy in computer lab with students, Computer Science major

Department of Computer and Information Sciences Lecturer Denise Joy with students in the Fenton Hall computer lab.

Learning how to write computer code from scratch was among several highlights for nearly three dozen area students at SUNY Fredonia for Hour of Code, a global initiative that promotes computer science and computer programming during Computer Science Week.

In the nationally observed Hour of Code, students spend an hour writing computer code using Scratch, JavaScript, Python, Quorum and Java programming languages, said Department of Computer Information Sciences Lecturer Gregory Cole.

Two sets of students from Gowanda Middle School and Silver Creek High School recently spent a half-day on campus as guests of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences.

An introduction to Python Programming, one of the most popular and widely-used programming languages in the world, was the focus of the Hour of Code lesson taught to Silver Creek High School students by Department of Computer and Information Sciences Lecturer Nathan Kropp. Python has applications in web development, data analytics, machine learning and design.

In her talk about careers in computer science and computer information systems to these high school students, Lecturer Denise Joy outlined job titles and educational requirements for these positions. “Many of the jobs in these fields require a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science or Computer Information Systems,” Mr. Cole noted, “and SUNY Fredonia offers both programs.”

Gowanda Middle School students visited the Hour of Code website and completed age appropriate one-hour coding tutorial activities where they practiced coding in Python, Java Script, HTML or block coding.

After their coding experiences, all students were given a tour of the campus by the Office of Admissions. “Many of the middle school students said they were excited about going to college here,” Cole remarked.

Students attending Hour of Code were recommended by their computer science teachers. The Department of Computer Information and Sciences began hosting area students for Hour of Code in 2012.

Hour of Code is held during Computer Science Week in honor of Grace Murray Hopper, a computer science pioneer and naval officer who is considered one of the first three modern programmers and is best known for her trailblazing contributions to the development of computer languages, beginning in the 1930s. Born on Dec. 9, 1906, she knew that computers would someday become widely used and helped to make them more user friendly.

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