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Howland Middle School introduces students to coding

Howland middle school students learning coding

Howland Middle School is now offering a new computer science discoveries class to its 8th grade students.  

Computer teacher, Eric Olsen, attended a week-long course last summer at The Ohio State University, as well as four Saturday sessions at Ashland University to learn how to teach the www.code.org curriculum.  

Students are introduced to three coding languages, learning HTML, CSS and JavaScript.  Eighth grade students create interactive cards, websites and their own video game in the one-semester class.  Code.org provides the curriculum free of charge to the school. Code.org is a non-profit organization that was created with a goal of introducing more students to the computer science field by introducing them to code at a young age.  Studies show that 90 percent of parents want their children introduced to computer science, yet only 35 percent of high schools, and even fewer middle schools, teach it. One of code.org’s focuses is to bring more girls and minorities into the male-dominated computer science profession. Howland Middle school is achieving that goal by encouraging all students to take the course. The current computer classes are a direct representation of the Howland Middle School population.

There are over 500,000 computing jobs open nationwide, and only 63,744 computer science students graduated into the workforce last year.  Emily Holloway, an industrial engineer and consultant for Microsoft, spoke to the 8th grade classes on March 29, 2019. She shared her experiences attending OSU and Notre Dame, as well as what it is like working for Microsoft.  She also spoke about alternative pathways to working in the computer industry. This past year, every female intern at Microsoft had multiple six-figure job offers as almost all computer companies are seeking to diversify.

Howland Middle School computer science teacher, Eric Olsen, is excited to bring this new program to Howland.  “I’m thrilled that our district is now able to offer this course to all 8th graders. Students have been very receptive to the curriculum, and it’s amazing to see what some kids are capable of creating with only a few weeks of instruction.  Hopefully, this will open their eyes to the endless opportunities available to people with coding skills and encourage them to take more of the computer offerings at the high school, possibly even pursuing a career in the field.”

Howland Middle School is looking to expand its computer science curriculum next year offering a computer science discoveries 2 course where students will learn about user-centered design, app development and physical computing using the Adafruit Circuit Playground.  

“This is an exciting time at Howland Middle School.  We are now able to teach real-world computing skills to middle school students,” said Olsen. “Even if they never pursue coding in the future, this course teaches problem solving, logic, troubleshooting, and perseverance.  These are life-long skills that everyone needs.”

Principal Stephen Kovach shares in the excitement stating, “The code.org curriculum allows us to bring experiences to students that they have never had previously, but that they can relate to throughout their everyday lives.  Students have the ability to solve real-world problems and use a higher-level thought without even realizing it. We’re excited about the direction our computer courses are going and look forward to seeing the benefits of the program as it evolves.”      

 




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Howland Local Schools
8200 South St. SE
Warren, OH 44484
Phone: (330) 856-8200
Fax: (330) 856-8214