Milford celebrates Computer Science Education Week

Approximately 150 students from English, foods, math, Spanish and all computer classes participated in the Hour of Code, an event sponsored by Code.org. Code.org, launched in 2013, is a "nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color."

Milford High School librarian Kim Palmer and computer science teacher Tammy Andrew coordinated the event at MHS. It was held all over the world from Dec. 7-11 for Computer Science Education Week. This event was to expose students to programming logic and to let students with any interests explore and learn about technology.

To continue with this week’s computer science education, three guest speakers presented their experience in the field. Angelos Dardagiannopoulos, a 2009 MHS graduate, is now a design director at Skymap Games. There, Dardagiannopoulos is a computer science entrepreneur. He discussed how he got into the IT business, his experiences through high school and college, and how his career progressed to where it is today.

Also speaking were Michael D. Radice, chairman technology advisory at Charta Cloud Technologies, and Lauryn E. Schimmel, managing director at Charta Cloud. ChartaCloud Technologies is headquartered in Portsmouth. The company provides solutions that enable companies to automate and streamline their business processes. They work with the NAO robot from Aldeberan Robotics, so they discussed advanced humanoid robotics and STEM.

Finally, David Hubbs, a professor at Nashua Community College, spoke. He is the computer science program coordinator. He, along with alumni and students, discussed the computer science industry and post-secondary options for students.

Multiple students who had previously taken programming courses helped the students through difficulties in the levels and helped explain new concepts. Some even went as far as to program their own personalized game and download it on their phone to play in their free time. Also, each student who participated was entered in a raffle to win gift cards.

"With my experience, the Hour of Code was interesting and it is a bit challenging at first, but when you get the hang of it, it gets easy," said freshman Kayla MacKinnon. "Plus, it is a fun way to learn more commands, and I enjoyed it very much."

This style of block-based programming exposes students to the logic and concepts behind the technology that they interact with every day. It is important for people, not just people in select fields, to begin to understand how technology can be used and understood by anyone.

"The Hour of Code was really fun," said Tristyn Shattuck. "I learned how to make my own game, and it was really fun. I had so much fun with the Hour of Code, and I can’t wait to do it again.

Students who came in without a programming background now know of a simple and free way to begin their computer science education that can impact their outlook on technology as a whole. In the U.S., only 1 in 4 schools teaches computer science, and the Hour of Code can help the students of today to bridge the gap between simply using technology and making it themselves.

Carolyn Opre is a senior at Milford High School.