Chaney students hone computer skills
By Denise Dick
Devlin Clevenger, 13, barely broke focus from his computer screen, typing in code to create the image he wanted.
“I put in different degrees to get different angles,” said the seventh-grader in Chaney’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics program.
He enjoys the work, making different patterns. He sat in class, leaning forward, his face a few inches from the screen.
“I don’t have a computer at home that I can really use,” Devlin said.
Chaney students were among millions of students worldwide who participated this week in an Hour of Code as part of Computer Science Education Week.
The effort was organized by Code.org and supported by Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and more than 100 others.
Pam Lubich, Chaney’s STEM coordinator, said the movement demonstrates to students what writing computer code is like.
“There are so many unfilled computer-science jobs,” she said.
All of Chaney’s STEM students participated in the Hour of Code, and a computer lab was opened up Tuesday after school to students who wanted to participate. About 15 students did.
Ray’mon Sims and Damon Christian, both 12, showed how to write code to design computer games. Each line corresponds to an action for the character on the screen.
“I didn’t get it at first,” Ray’mon said.
It took them both a few minutes to figure out the correct directions to move the character.
“I had to put myself in that position,” Ray’mon explained.
Once they got that down, they learned to enjoy it.
“I like that you can do what you say on the computer,” Damon said.
Teacher Sharon Ragan said the Hour of Code movement also allows students to create games on the computer that they download on their phones.
“They can take it to the next level outside of the school day,” she said.
Damon signed onto the program at home.
“I used my mom’s computer,” he said. “I wanted to show my little brother.”
Colors, circles, angles and lines danced across the computer screen in front of Sierra Morales, 12.
“I really like design,” she said.
Sierra tweaked the degree of angles in the computer code and set the drawing on repeat — a process that took her about a minute to figure out — to create her image.
“I do a lot of computer stuff at home,” she said.
Briann Little, 12, and Alyssa Deslandes, 13, say they enjoy the work, too.
“It’s fun,” Alyssa said.
“I like putting something together and having it do what you tell it to do,” Briann said,
Juniors in information/technology teacher Mike Pozega’s class were working on a more advanced level.
Jeraile Moreland, 16, was working on inputting the correct commands to move a character through a maze.
“It’s challenging,” Jeraile said. “You have to think. You have to keep thinking until you get it.”
That’s what he likes about computer code.
Jason Carlo, 17, likes writing code because it allows him to create something. He also plans to create his own website and apps.
He has some ideas for apps but he’s not telling what they are.
He has to keep them secret, he said, so “no one steals my ideas.”
Jason sees this aspect of computers as a natural extension of the knowledge he already has. He can take computers apart and put them back together. He built his computer at home from parts he ordered in about 20 minutes.
“I know that like the back of my hand,” he said. “I’m still learning code, though.”