Early last month, more than 100 computer science and computer engineering students volunteered at local elementary schools to teach kids the basics of computer coding. Butterfield Trail, Happy Hollow and Root elementary schools welcomed U of A students to assist in the yearly Hour of Code program as a part of Computer Science Education Week. Sponsored by Code.org, the program involves over 45 different programming languages for students of all ages.
Elementary students from all grades took turns throughout the day visiting the libraries and computer labs of their schools for an hour of introductory coding. They completed tutorials, played games, interacted with U of A student volunteers and learned new programming skills. The U of A students encouraged the kids when they got stuck, rooted for them when they overcame a difficult task and walked them through the steps of programming.
Dana Troutt, Happy Hollow Elementary media specialist and librarian of the hour, oversaw some of the first and third grade students during Hour of Code.
“They really enjoy this event and interacting with the U of A students,” Troutt said. “Sometimes the kids will walk by and see other grades in here and get jealous because they want to do the Hour of Code. We just remind them that their time is coming!”
Students, volunteers and faculty alike looked forward to the event Dec. 5-8. Matthew Patitz, associate professor of computer science and computer engineering, explained the recurring request for more volunteer opportunities like this one.
“The students, some of them as young as kindergarteners, have really loved this in the past, and so have the college student volunteers,” Patitz said.
Computer science and computer engineering students are making sure to make their mark on the community and inspire young minds during their college careers.