Just like the AvePoint Public Sector team, the AvePoint Chicago lent our hands to the Hour of Code movement last week by leading a one-hour introduction to computer science for students ranging from 11 to 13 years of age at John B. Murphy Elementary. The cause is certainly near to our hearts as a global software company, and we knew it would be a great way to share our knowledge with the local community by teaching local children about the power of coding during Computer Science Education Week. With Microsoft setting an ambitious goal of reaching 100 million students globally throughout this year, we wanted to do our part in making that happen by teaming up with our partner to make a difference in our community.
A talented group of 17 members of the AvePoint Chicago team gathered for the event on Friday, December 12. The day kicked off with a lively presentation from Microsoft’s Larry Kuhn that introduced students to the concept of coding and why it’s so important. He informed the students about how many of the things they use every day are built with code – from video games to Facebook and beyond. To underscore this point, he also showed this short film that explained why coding is a “superpower” and featured testimonials from famous faces including Microsoft’s Bill Gates, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, singer will.i.am, NBA superstar Chris Bosh, and more.
With two students partnered up at each Surface tablet, the AvePoint team proctored the exercises and helped guide the students throughout the online lessons and games. With so many of us in attendance, almost every pair of students had their own private computer science tutor for the hour. We had a lot of fun answering their questions and even learned a few things from the students throughout the process. I learned that coding has endless possibilities, and it is incredible to me that something so seemingly complex can be learned by children when taught in an engaging and relatable manner. It doesn’t have to be scary – it can even be fun! It is never too early nor too late to start learning something new that could benefit you in the future.
Office Administrator Justina Weisensel worked exclusively with two seventh graders who especially enjoyed the simulation based on the hit movie Frozen, which was one of the most challenging games offered. They explained that they are in a computer science class in school where they learn how to type properly and are exposed to Microsoft Office programs. They even had experience creating their own video game, which they said was similar to what we played during the Hour of Code event. Like most other students, it was clear that they enjoyed playing a game while also learning the fundamentals of coding and had an interest in learning more about computer science in the future.
In the end, the event was a big success and we helped Microsoft and Hour of Code reach an additional 52 students. It’s our hope that the hour showed all of the students that coding is both fun and approachable, and that a career in computer science is a great option to explore for their future. Interested to learn more about Hour of Code and lead your own event for your community? Visit the movement’s website for more details.