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Manchester students participate in “Hour of Code” event

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Manchester students joined 835 million other aspiring computer programmers this week by participating in Hour of Code, an introductory coding event for students and others interested in learning about coding.

The worldwide event has become a staple of computer science classes throughout the year, but most notably during Computer Science Education Week, which is being held this year from Dec. 9-15.

Martha Bernier, a technology education teacher at McLaughlin Middle School, participated in the event today with her seventh- and eighth-graders.

Hour of Code’s hour-long lessons are slightly more freeform than her normal classes, which teach the students how to develop websites and mobile applications.

“It’s all just fun coding projects,” she said of the event. “It’s just to introduce kids to coding and help them see if they like it.

On Monday, Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig joined Ward 3 Board of School Committee Member Mary Ngwanda Georges and U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) visited with students participating in the event in Bernier’s class and elsewhere in the school.

This marks the second year that Manchester’s schools have participated in the event, which Craig says is another valuable component of the Manchester School District’s overall STEM education efforts.

“It’s great to get into the school and see (this event),” said Craig. “Certainly (the students) are really engaged in what they’re doing.”

Hassan was also encouraged to see the students at McLaughlin learning through doing, echoing legislation she has sponsored for higher education students focusing on competency-based learning approaches.

“It was great seeing kids doing Hour of Code in action. It’s really important for kids to have basic coding and computer skills because all 21st century jobs regardless of the field are dependent on being literate in computer skills and coding,” said Hassan. “These self-guided exercises that the kids were doing today were really a good example of how much they can learn and how much they can incorporate. They were really just exploring on their own, which is one of the best ways to learn.”

The various lessons offered by Hour of Code are available for anyone to try for free at the Hour of Code website.