Catching Up with a Computer Science Expert

To get a better idea of what Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code is all about, FLVS Content Writer Irene Pynn-Cunha sat down to chat with Amie Ross, FLVS Computer Science instructor.

flvs-hour-of-code-2016Mrs. Ross looks forward to Computer Science Education Week every year. In the past, she’s worked with students both online and face to face. She loves watching mental light bulbs go off all around the room as, one by one, students who thought they would never learn to code begin solving programming puzzles.

“When something works,” she says, “the excitement on their faces, that’s really cool.”

This year, she’ll be helping students with one of her favorite puzzles: a storybook about Santa’s missing socks. It may seem like a simple exercise, but by the end, students discover they’ve just worked through a challenging computer science concept: the binary search.

Mrs. Ross says one of the great benefits of Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code is that participants “tackle very complicated concepts without even realizing it.” In many ways, this is the key to showing students that programming actually is for anyone. In fact, she says, programming is a heavily creative field. “I’ve watched a lot of students really surprise themselves,” she says. “There isn’t just one type of person who gets into programming.”

Computer Science can be useful for everybody. Once people gain a basic foundation in how the computer works, they begin to develop important problem solving skills. “Those skills transfer into other subject areas,” Mrs. Ross says. “In general, people need to understand how technology works.”

To students wondering whether they should get involved in Computer Science Education Week and Hour of Code, Mrs. Ross recommends visiting https://csedweek.org and https://code.org/learn or checking with your instructor about events. Even after the week is over, the sites are available year round for people to jump in and start coding. It doesn’t matter whether you already have an interest in technology. As Mrs. Ross says, “Give it a try. You never know!”

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences with us, Mrs. Ross! And to everybody else, enjoy your next steps into programming!

Post by Irene Pynn-Cunha, FLVS Curriculum Content Writer

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