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Hour Of Code Arrives At Middle School

Swampscott Middle School computer teacher Natalie Paine. Credit: Terry Date
Swampscott Middle School computer teacher Natalie Paine. Credit: Terry Date
Organizers did not know what to expect for Monday's Hour of Code.

What they got was a wave of interest.

Fifty students came to the Swampscott Middle School library.

They came to join a national program that is introducing students to code. Writing computer code.

Code is simply telling a computer what to do, said Adam Scharfenberger, who teaches STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) classes at the Middle School.

Swampscott Middle School computer teacher Natalie Paine, Adam and three professors from Salem State University roved the room and helped students — as help is needed — as they explored code through computer games and tutorials.

The scene was two rooms full of kids sitting at computers. Along two walls in the main library, students sat at desktops. In the far corner, in Ms. Paine's computer classroom, students lined the walls at desktops.

Students focused on their computers, some of them taking time out to chat with their neighbors.

The background noise was a constant flow of chatter, laughter and occasional shouts.

The kids were at play. And working. Learning.

"I got it, I got it," a student exclaimed, at one point, adding a bit of drama to her exclamation but nonetheless expressing that she indeed got the idea.

Specificity is all important when writing code, said Mr. Scharfenberger. The more specific the directions, the better the computer will respond.

Ideas will continue to flow all week in celebration of Computer Education Week.

On Tuesday the Swampscott High robotics teacher and his students will be at the middle school afterschool to present
information on robotics.

Thursday and Friday afterschool programs will be offered in Java and other computer language topics.

The Hour of the Code is here. To be a part of the hour click here.

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