Monroe 2 Orleans BOCES News Article

Breaking the code

Teacher Damon Piletz works with two students.

Today’s students are no strangers to technology. Classrooms utilize the latest software programs and apps for research, remedial practice or additional learning opportunities. Outside of school, smart phones and tablets are used to access social media and games.
But how do those programs, apps and games work?
Thanks to the Monroe 2-Orleans Project ADEPT workshop, “Coding: The 21st Century’s Literacy,” some fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at East Rochester Elementary School had the chance to find out. The workshop introduced them to coding and the logic structure behind many computer programs. Students learned firsthand how to create commands to direct the computer using Python, the programming language behind many popular apps like Facebook and Instagram.
“Learning how to code is like learning a language,” explained Damon Piletz, a resource teacher with Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES Gifted and Talented Education which orchestrated the workshop. “If you learn how it works, there is no limit to what you can do with it.”
Students worked together during the session to build their own fun, joke-telling applications and a random number-guessing game that applied multiple logic rules in a loop until the correct number was guessed. 
“Python is a great language for beginners,” said Gabriel Schickling, lead IT technician at Simple Tech Innovations and the guest presenter for the workshop. “But it is used for many complex applications as well.”
At the end of the workshop, the students saw how Python was used to easily create things in the popular online game, Minecraft. After exclamations of “wow!” and “that’s cool!,” the students were eager to try out their new skills to build their own cool programs.

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