Radcliff Elementary participates in worldwide coding event

Fifth grade students at Radcliff Elementary School in Watsonville engage in a coding exercise for the 14th year in a row. (Photo by Tarmo Hannula/Register-Pajaronian)

WATSONVILLE — Groups of fifth-graders gathered in Radcliff Elementary School’s cafeteria on Tuesday to try their hands at coding.

Hour of Code began simply as one-hour introductory tutorials to computer science, aiming to get people interested in the subject and show how it affects every day life. The tutorials have now expanded to events occurring at schools worldwide, including Radcliff.

“It’s so good for them to try things hands-on like this,” said the school’s principal Ulli Kummerow. “I think it really gives them a chance to learn in a different way.”

The self-guided activities for students kindergarten to high school range from educational computer games, to robotics and physical activities — all with a focus on some facet of technology.

Despite the Hour of Code tutorials being up year-round, a push for involvement occurs every year during what is known as Computer Science Education Week; this year on Dec. 3-7. The education week’s Advisory and Review Committees team up with Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the College Board and many other companies and groups to bring the program to schools.

“There is a real social aspect of this,” said Marina Maldonado, technology integration coach for the Pajaro Valley Unified School District. “They are learning to work closely together. And having a lot of fun at the same time — so much so they might not know they’re learning.”

According to Maldonado, the event is not meant to teach as much computer science in one hour as possible, but instead to expose students of all backgrounds to the subject to at least get them interested.

Radcliff Elementary’s Assistant Principal Heath Bailey was on hand in Radcliff’s cafeteria on Tuesday, where second-, third- and fourth-graders from the school had also taken their turn at the activities throughout the day.

“It’s just great to see them so engaged,” Bailey said. “They get so excited when they solve a problem together. Their faces just light up.”

Hour of Code events occurred in various schools across Santa Cruz County, including Landmark Elementary, Pajaro Valley High, E.A. Hall Middle and a handful of others in the Pajaro Valley.

For information, visit hourofcode.com.


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