NH schools gear up for Hour of CodeUnion Leader Staff
December 03. 2017 9:28PM
CONCORD — Teachers and students throughout the state are gearing up for the Hour of Code for Every Student, a nationwide campaign to inspire student interest in computer coding and technology.
The campaign takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week, which this year is Dec. 4-10.
Commissioner of Education Frank Edelblut says New Hampshire is taking the program a step further this year, by marrying it to a robotics competition.
The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify computer code, and show that anybody can learn the basics, according to the program website.
It has since become a worldwide effort to celebrate computer science, starting with one-hour coding activities but expanding to all sorts of community efforts.
The state Department of Education has teamed up with a Derry-based technology education company, Intelitek, and Oracle Academy, to build the N.H. Week of Code around a Cyber Robotics Coding Competition.
“We wanted to build on the work of Code.org as well as the success of our own robotics program launched earlier this year,” Edelblut said. “Using Itelitek’s CoderZ software platform, we built 50 virtual coding challenges that allow students to navigate robots through increasingly difficult challenges.”
Edelblut characterized the challenges as similar to the Minecraft computer game, but with coding and robots.
David Benedetto, the STEM education director at the Department of Education, said the partnership with Intelitek has been a big boost to the program.
“The impact we are achieving is tremendous,” he said. “Thousands of students, their teachers and sometimes even their parents are all engaged in coding and STEM activities for a period of six weeks.”
So far, more than 2,300 students and 100 teachers statewide have been actively participating in the Cyber Robotics Coding Competition.
Forty students have completed all 50 boot camp missions and are awaiting the next 20 missions to be released in the Week of Code.
Qualifying schools and students will compete in a grand finale competition on Dec. 19 at Pinkerton Academy in Derry.
Elementary school students throughout the state are also participating independently in Hour of Code projects at various times during the week.