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Woodstock School District 200 students collaborate to learn coding

WOODSTOCK – Woodstock School District 200 students learned to code during an event Wednesday in honor of the international Hour of Code, part of Computer Science Education Week.

Students at Prairiewood Elementary School learned how to program games using their Google Chromebooks. Students from higher grades and Woodstock High School assisted younger students with the challenge. Representatives from Google also were in attendance.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Dawneen Connery, who teaches fourth grade. “They are super excited. It’s hands on. … They have figured out a lot of the code themselves together through trial and error. We will continue this throughout the year. I like this a lot.”

Fourth-grade students Kendall O’Dea and Paige Jarvis said they liked the activity because it was fun and engaging.

“You can make whatever you want, have fun with it and explore in it,” Kendall said.

The two were coding a game that allowed them to create stories and worlds with animal characters. Other students chose to code games in the theme of “Angry Birds” and “Minecraft,” or created codes to develop artistic pictures.

“It’s a little difficult the first time,” Paige said, “but it gets easier.”

Google was a sponsor of the event. The tech giant sponsors similar events and initiatives to get students interested in science, technology, engineering and math year-round. The company also has created numerous educational apps that schools around the nation use in their classrooms.

“It’s good to get kids interested in computer science because it’s going to be more and more useful as the economy moves more and more toward computers,” Google software engineer Amit Marathel said. “There are some standard websites, and students go to them, and there are different levels to choose from.”

For the younger kids, the Hour of Code was a chance to introduce students to computer science, second-grade teacher Courtney Deering said.

“It ignited a little bit of fire in them,” she said. “They have the opportunity to see how this applies in the real world, and how coding and computer science is a cool thing.”

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