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Chestatee wins $10,000 for teaching computer skills

Hall students participate in ‘Hour of Code’

POSTED: December 11, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Students across Hall County are learning how to code this week and, as a result, have made a little extra cash.

“Chestatee, all week long, is going with their math teacher to code for an hour,” said Darrell Skogman, a math and programming teacher at the high school. “They’re just going to the lab, and code.org has a website set up (with tutorials).”

People communicate with computers via coding; learning how to code helps in multiple activities, including building websites and creating smartphone apps.

This week is Computer Science Education Week, and as part of that, students in participating schools worldwide are spending one hour each learning about coding via online tutorials at www.code.org.

By registering Chestatee High School for this Hour of Code, the school was automatically entered for a $10,000 drawing. One school in each state received the award. Out of around 100 schools in Georgia eligible for the prize, Chestatee won.

Skogman plans to purchase seven laptops, three Android tablets, and a 3-D printer with the money.

“We had about 160 kids go through it (Monday) and had about that many go through it (Tuesday),” he said. “I left a little link and had them all fill out a survey at the end. The response has been overwhelmingly positive. A lot of kids are responding that they didn’t even know what coding was about, and they wanted to go home and try it some more.”

Outside of Chestatee, other participating schools are C.W. Davis Middle School, North Hall Middle School and Chestatee Academy of Inquiry and Talent Development.

Career and business teacher Geoff Chaffin at Davis Middle is learning along with his students. While he teaches students how to plan for their future careers, he thinks coding is an important skill to learn at a young age.

This week has inspired Chaffin to learn to code for himself.

“It’s easier than I thought it was going to be,” he said. “When you think about computer science, you think of it being something that you’ve got to be a rocket scientist (to know). The procedures that you (put) into place with the code, they’re common sense. It’s not some crazy, encrypted computer language that only certain people in the world can understand.”


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