Coding Hour Attracts Girls to Computer Course

Vaughn Luthringer, Staff Writer

The “Hour of Code,” a program designed to let students experiment with coding, was hosted by math classes on Wednesday, December 7.

For some students, coding may as well be another language, but the “Hour of Code” program hope to change this. “It gives them a chance to try it, and find out if it’s not as scary as maybe they think it is,” said Carol Paymer, who teaches Intro and AP Computer Programming.

The Hour of Code website allowed students in computer labs or on portable devices to play around with activities that taught them the basics of coding. Dragon Dash, Lightbot, and CodeCombat were just a few of the 100+ activities available on the site.

I just want people to know that it’s accessible, that it’s not scary, that it’s fun,” Paymer said. 

According to Paymer, the program has been used at Campolindo for the last 4 or 5 years, and it has been a factor in the rising interest in computer science courses. “I think that since we started doing it, enrollment in the courses has increased,” she said.”I think it generated interest in programming, especially among people who maybe wouldn’t have taken it before Hour of Code.”

Teachers have seen students having more enthusiasm for programming, now that they know what it’s really all about. [Hour of Code] gave them a little peek into what we really do, that we’re not just, you know, sitting in little dark rooms, typing away in silence, and that we do lots of graphics and have fun,” Paymer said.

The career path is dominated by men. But more girls have been signing up for Paymer’s classes since the implementation of the coding introduction. “My AP class is almost half girls,” Paymer said.

The 2016 Hour of Code session was well received by students. “I really like the Hour of Code, because it let my brain think differently for a while,” said freshman Katie Ye. “It took me a long time to figure out the code, but once I got it, it was so satisfying.”

Freshman Natalie Baier said, “I thought it was pretty cool. I got a little frustrated when I couldn’t find out how to do it. I went home and played Lightbot again.”

I don’t think everybody needs to be a programmer, but I want people to know that if they want to, they can, that it’s within their ability,” Paymer said.