In celebration of Computer Science Education Week, students at Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy participated in the “Hour of Code” on Dec. 10. The global event asked students to try one hour of coding through self-guided tutorials in an effort to introduce students to computer science and demystify the coding process.
For an all-girls school, the Hour of Code was especially meaningful. “This is about empowering women and broadening opportunities. Coding is still a male-dominated field,” said Jeannie Finley, director of Academic Technology and Library Services. “Girls need encouragement to pursue STEM fields.” According to Code.org, the non-profit that sponsored Hour of Code, only 12% of computer science degrees are awarded to women. Similarly dismal statistics can be found at tech companies; Google recently admitted that only 17% of its tech employees are female.
“Girls are under-represented in computer science fields often because they are not even exposed to computer science as a potential career early on,” said Ty Buxman, FSHA Science Dept. chair. “The ‘Hour of Code’ is a simple way to expose girls to basic programming, often breaking their preconceived notion that programming is overly difficult or unattainable.”
Many of Buxman’s students found the hour enlightening.
“Initially, when I thought of coding I thought of equations and mathematical processes, but now I know coding is a logic puzzle,” said senior Lilly Widen. “It’s finding the most effective and efficient way to get a job done.” Some students even expressed an interest to continue coding in their spare time.
“I found it easy, but there is always more to learn,” said Gurrola. “It’s sort of like learning a new language; it’s steps and progress. You’ve got to know how to read it and then it’s all about putting it together.”
Finley hopes that the “Hour of Code” will inspire more FSHA students to explore computer science classes. Senior Electra Williams is taking advanced placement computer science courses through a partnership with the Online School for Girls. Williams said she loves the course, describing herself in a “technological trance.” She also thinks girls need to take these types of classes to get ahead in the future.
“Computer science is becoming more and more relevant with everyday work,” said Williams. “Women need to go into computer science-related fields. Classes on the high school level will help expose girls to the field and spark interest.”
It appears that the “Hour of Code” may have done just that.