Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


December 19, 2013

A 'code' for life

AHS students dabble in computer programming


“I absolutely love this,” Molly said. “It’s just so cool that, in computer language, you can talk to a machine and make it do something — transfer what you want to happen to a little light-up robot, a satellite or surgical machine, the kind of thing you couldn’t do without programming.”

Minda Reidy, a teacher who helped run the Hour of Code at the high school, said the goal of the initiative was to get 10 million students worldwide, many of whom aren’t even taking a computer course, to simply try their hand at code.

“(The intent) was to give the students a chance to just see what it is and how to do it. They’ll see it isn’t so mystical, so scary,” Reidy said.

By mid-afternoon last Thursday, almost 800 Andover High students had participated in the program. Feedback showed the lesson was more than a success.

“Eighty percent enjoy it; 71 percent think programming couldn’t be too hard,” Reidy said as she scanned her cellphone for live data coming out of student surveys.

Perhaps most telling, she said, was that 62 percent of students had no interest in programming before they tried it. After their “Hour of Code” introduction, the number of disinterested dropped to 21 percent.

“That’s pretty good,” she said. “I’m excited by that.”

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