Freshman year held a lot of firsts for me. It was the first time I met many of my best friends, the first time I pulled an all nighter, and the biggest in my opinion, the first time I took a computer programming class. I had always been interested in technology and science, and walking into Mr. Marques room on the first day, I felt more excited than I had in a long time for what the class had in store for me.
On the first day I was starting the process of learning how to code. As I progress through the courses and my own studies building up my proficiency, I realize that taking that first step during Freshman year even though it was in a seemingly different direction than expected was crucial in preparing me for my future in Computer Science.
Even though we rely on computers every day innumerable times for even the most basic parts of our lives, most have little idea of how they actually work. Schools are decades behind in their computer science education, relegating it to a few electives if that and thus depriving generations of people from understanding a part of their lives just as if not more significant than English, Math, Science, or History. Luckily Hadi and Ali Partovi recognized this flaw in our educational system and so in January of 2013 they established Code.org, a website dedicated to, broadly, promoting computer science and technology education worldwide.
Hour of Code, a 1 week long event that encourages students, educators, and general citizens to partake in basic computer programming exercises, is the lynchpin of that plan. As of writing this over 82 million people have participated worldwide in various exercises that the website provides. These exercises like the first that I did are not hardcore code writing, rather, they are visual and comprised of blocks which makes it intuitive for those who have no programming experience. This approach is what makes the program so successful; people can begin with realistic goals and challenges and it allows them to discover the wonders of programming without the difficulty of learning a specific language.
For the second year in a row, the Programming Club at Malden High School hosted the Hour of Code for any Malden High Students interested in participating, and the event was even more successful than it was last year. Over 30 students attended and took part in the activities for an hour exploring computer science and learning the basics. Everyone who came seemed to enjoy the event, and while there were many who already had some programming knowledge they were still engaged by the interactive puzzles that the website provided. In the future, Mr. Marques and the rest of the programming club hope that the computer programming community and interest in the High School can grow, and with Hour of Code’s reach continuing to spread it will hopefully be helped along.