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Hour Of Code

Library helps kids unlock mystery of computer coding

July 14, 2017
Vanessa McGuigan - Chronicle staff , Shepherdstown Chronicle

Shepherdstown Library continued its summer fun programs by offering an hour of code to children. This program is part of a national "Hour of Code" initiative that kicked off in 2013 to introduce people of all ages to the world of computer science and to help demystify programming.

Children had a choice of coding in a Moana game by Disney or Minecraft. Disney instructs using a visual programming language, called "lockly" where students simply drag and drop visual blocks to write code to help Moana navigate the sea.

In the Minecraft program, students had to use code to get the animals and people to move. Video instructors explained that events in the game occur by using code to tell the computer to listen or wait for certain things to happen. For example, when sheep are sheared in the game, their wool drops to the ground. Kids were taught how to make this happen using coding.

Article Photos

Chronicle photo by Vanessa McGuigan

Children’s librarian Christy Hagerty gives instruction to students for an hour of coding.

Instructors also introduced the concept of the ?orever loopin the programmer's toolbox. In the Minecraft game, chickens move constantly. Students were instructed that they can make the chickens move any direction as long as it keeps moving. Any number of move and turn commands inside a forever loop will accomplish this task.

This is the first time Shepherdstown Library has offered the class, but children's librarian, Christy Hagerty hopes to offer it again in the future.

"We had to use the computer lab at Shepherd because we don't have our own (at the library)," said Hagerty. "We're grateful they've allowed us to use it, but I don't know if it will be usable in the fall when school is in session."

Hagerty used lessons from the website, Code.org, where their motto is that anyone can learn to code. They offer free coding programs based on age and skill levels.

Other online platforms for coding like Tynker and Youth Digital offer ongoing, online classes for small monthly fees.

 
 
 

 

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