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Hours & hours & hours & hours of Code - A great success!

5 years ago

ihub is celebrating the close to a crazy-wonderful December month and the start of brand new year. Together with our partners at the District School Board of Niagara, DSBN IT4 Learning team and IT Services, earlier this month we challenged DSBN educators and students to engage with a global initiative – Hour of Code. You won’t believe the positive response…! That’s incredible.

Over half of DSBN schools participated. Students of EVERY age participated. Educators from EVERY discipline participated. Principals and administration staff were SO engaged. Working together we achieved over 750,000 minutes of students learning code. How much exactly, you may ask?

759,574 minutes!

During Hour of Code week, December 7-13, ihub hosted a series of in-house Hour of Code session alongside industry partners and entrepreneurs, and local post-secondary students from both Brock University and Niagara College.

We kicked off Hour of Code Week on Monday, December 7 with Lightbot, an Hour of Code featured activity created by 2015 Forbes 30-Under-30 education award winner, Danny Yaroslavski. Danny mentored groups of elementary and secondary students alongside DSBN educators, and Dr. Camille Rutherford, Brock University Faculty of Education and Peter Wilson, Brock University Computer Science Club.

I was twelve when I started coding,” shared Lightbot creator, Danny with Grade 6 students. This was followed by a host of curious questions, each met with patience and enthusiasm by our inspiring entrepreneurial host.

One student asked, “Where do you get your ideas?” to which Danny responded (with a huge smile), “Where do you get yours? A day in any life can inspire an idea, if we only pay attention to that part of our brains.”

Following this first day, student and educator enthusiasm for Lightbot and other coding activities spread through DSBN Academy.

A sincere thank you to Danny for spending the first day of Hour of Code Week with us at ihub! You had a real impact here, and we intend to continue this ripple of innovation. This Grade 8 teacher spoke to the impact this activity was having on her students, even just through this short exposure. “It’s something that reaches kids; that they can interact with and connect with.” – Grade 8 DSBN educator One student, usually content to follow her peers through group work, could be seen confidently leading her team through a Sphero activity. Another student, typically disengaged and opposed to writing critical thinking and reflection pieces, approached this teacher with a completed piece and requested another activity. This learning is having a real impact. As Hour of Code Week continued, local news attended DSBN Academy Spherosessions, interviewing Grade 10 and Grade 11 students about this initiative and their outlook on coding as an in-demand skill.

Touring DSBN Academy midweek, the ihub team was invited to observe a Grade 8 class. The students, self-facilitating a variety of activities, were enthusiastic about the experience. The educator, able to step back and speak to us for a moment, was left inspired by the overwhelming level of engagement. Click here to see the TVCogeco coverage. Sphero sessions were led by industry partners from leading technology organizations. Mentors encouraged students at ihub, shouting, “Get curious! Experiment! I don’t want anyone sitting down!” The students responded with enthusiasm. The ihub team witnessed everything from a robot waltz to a maze creation and completion. Sessions were one hour long, and that wasn’t enough for these eager young learners. The principal asked over the buzz of Grade 6s, “Do you want to stay and keep coding over your break?” This was met with a resounding, “YES!” “This needs to happen. Make them learn when they’re not looking.” – Grade 6 DSBN educator

The ihub and DSBN IT4 Learning teams concluded an amazing Hour of Code Week with a tour of Central Public School. The staff at this school organized a Tech Celebration, where their 500+ student population would cycle through a variety of code activities. We were BLOWN AWAY by the innovation and engagement of staff and students alike. We saw 1:1, 2:1, and 3:1 student to device experiences. We saw peer-to-peer mentoring, from Grade 1 through Grade 8. We saw interaction across a variety of hardware including smart phones, tablets, and laptops. This school even hosted aphysical fitness activity with coding. On Friday, December 11 Central Public School alone invested 100,000+ minutesof code. Impressive! Schools with the highest participation rates were each awarded a monetary tech grant and a Sphero robot. Celebrating the following recipients for 2015: Prizes are made possible by the generous support of the District School Board of Niagara and our ihub sponsors and supporters: Hour of Code is a global movement impacting tens of millions of students in 180+ countries.


But why is Hour of Code so important? Every minute of code experienced exposes students to fundamental computing concepts in a fun, engaging way. This event provides K-12 students with the opportunity to take part in the technology that is shaping our world. Code activities nurture creativity and problem-solving skills, and help prepare students for careers in a professional landscape that is changing, rapidly. Coding is the next generation of literacy, and our K-12 students need it now. Did you know? Niagara region is getting international recognition as a high tech hub. Did you know? >250 high skilled technology-based jobs have been created in Niagara region in the last five years. Did you know? Computing jobs outnumber students graduating in that field 3-1. ihub with the District School Board of Niagara, IT4 Learning team and IT Services team are proud supporters of Hour of Code. Together we are supporting tomorrow’s Niagara, today. Click here to see the #DSBNHoC coverage of the week. Click here for the ihub & DSBN Hour of Code event page. Click here for more information on Hour of Code.