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Hour of Code upon Westwood Collegiate

Students to learn computer programming

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Westwood Collegiate teacher Greg Johnson will be one of the teachers on hand to provide assistance to students participating in the Hour of Code.

JORDAN THOMPSON Enlarge Image

Westwood Collegiate teacher Greg Johnson will be one of the teachers on hand to provide assistance to students participating in the Hour of Code. Photo Store

A local high school may be housing some of Winnipeg’s future computer programmers.

Westwood Collegiate (360 Rouge Rd.) is participating in Hour of Code, a weeklong initiative that aims to promote the act of coding among students. The school will be taking part on Dec. 11 and 12 during Computer Science Education Week, which is recognized from Dec. 9 to 15.

The Hour of Code was initially announced as an American campaign on Oct. 14 this year. According to code.org, the initiative "asks schools, teachers and parents across the country to help introduce more than 10 million students of all ages to computer programming during Computer Science Education Week, December 9-15, 2013."

However, many students from all over the world are participating, including those from Westwood Collegiate.

Every student in Westwood Collegiate will be heading down to the computer lab in groups starting at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 11 to do some coding for an hour, and the hope is to have all students code by Dec. 12.

Vice-principal George Valentim believes that the Hour of Code is an excellent way to show students the technology behind their everyday devices.

"We just expect things to work, but we don’t really know how they work. There are people behind what you have in front of you. This doesn’t get created by accident," Valentim said.

Greg Johnson, physics and chemistry teacher at Westwood Collegiate, said that coding is "basically programming a computer to perform a function".

"There’s a range of different activities (the students) can do during the Hour of Code. Some of them are JavaScript language, Scratch language, Python language," Johnson said. "They try different tasks and sort of learn the logic behind speaking the language of a computer."

Video tutorials will be set up so that the students can watch and learn how to perform a task before trying it themselves.

For more information about the Hour of Code, visit code.org or csedweek.org

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