Xavier experiences Hour of Code


Seniors Alex Hinrichs and Casey O’Connell work on a catapult as part of the Maker Space Movement during Hour of Code. Maddy Andresen Photo.

Noah Lynch, News Editor

Almost half a billion students around the world have taken the first step in learning about the technology of the future. The Hour of Code is a global movement that aims to teach people about coding. People of all ages can participate; but the main focus is on students, especially those who are new to computer science. Xavier held their own Hour of Code events throughout the week of December 4. The goal was to get all students to experience at least one hour of coding.

The events hosted at Xavier included a variety of speakers as well as many interactive activities for people of all levels of coding knowledge. Each activity  focused on different types of technology: including wearable technology, domains and IP addresses, drag and drop code, virtual reality, coding music, apps and games, coding languages like Python and Raptor, programming a TI calculator, recursive thinking, and creating a webpage, along with many self-paced tutorials.

In addition to the activities, there were a wide range of speakers from different tech companies. Tom Schuster, who is employed at Crystal Group as an electrical engineer, showed students how to code with a Python tutorial. Samantha Dahlby, who works for code.org at NewBoCo, showed multiple kinds of wearable technology, like an Adafruit bracelet and a circuit playground. She also taught students how to code their own projects using Arduino. Shannon Hampsher and Chris Leonard from GoDaddy taught students about the need for young people to practice digital security and citizenship. They had students practice coding by changing the Google logo and creating their own holiday emoji.

“I think it is really cool that we got the opportunity to participate in Hour of Code here at Xavier,” senior Erin Smith said. “I was able to attend a presentation given by employees at GoDaddy. It was interesting to hear about all the different types of jobs that involve computer science, and how many real world applications it has. I also got to learn about the basics of coding, which I have always been curious about.”

Around the world, there were over 141,000 events registered for the week of December 4 alone. Coding tutorials exist in over 45 languages, and over 100 million students completed almost 450 thousand hours of coding. Xavier has participated in Hour of Code since 2013, but added to the amount of activities each year. Xavier Technology Coordinator Mrs. Barb Miltner organized the event, along with help from Mrs. Tracie Marshall and Ms. Hannah Konzen.

“Not everyone is going to be a computer scientist or fluent in multiple computer languages,” Miltner said. “But everyone benefits from learning the critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and art of perseverance that computer science promotes. The Hour of Code lets students try something new without a long-term commitment of an entire semester or year-long course. By offering this opportunity, we just might be able to help some students find a new passion.”

This year’s Hour of Code had a large turn out, with students from math and science classes participating in the movement. Xavier will hold another Hour of Code week during this same time next year.

Noah Lynch

News Editor