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Students Explore Computer Programming at Student Opportunity Center

Nov 19, 2014

Coding Camp at SOCVolunteers from the Frisco Education Foundation joined employees of the telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent in hosting a camp on November 13 at the Student Opportunity Center.

Nearly 40 students involved in the school’s Academic Academy took part in one of two interactive sessions introducing them to the world of computer programming and circuitry.

In the first, each student used “Lego”-like programming blocks to build interactive games and control the movement and sounds of images on their computer.

In the second, students learned the basics of an electronic circuit and worked in teams of four to code, build their own electronic gadgets and create new designs.

The camp was inspired by a meeting between Principal Sue Kirk and Frisco Education Foundation President Peter Burns, an employee of Alcatel-Lucent, who secured grant funding for the effort from the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation.

Many students who struggle academically do not get the opportunity to take as many course electives as some of their peers, Kirk said. As a result, they may not have been exposed to coding or had the chance to explore their interest, she added.

The hope was to spark students’ interest in course offerings and career fields related to science, technology, engineering and math. 

Circuitry Presentation

The following comments were among the positive feedback shared by students and staff:

Students

“The class was a different experience than what I had ever had.”

“The instructors were very nice and helpful. It gave me insight into what I want to do.”

“I thought the class was inspirational. It was fun and kept my interest.  Every student should be able to have this experience. I wish it had been longer.”

“It introduced me to the world of coding. It opened my horizons into a career possibility that I did not know I could do.” 

Staff Members

“The coding camp was very beneficial for our students. The level of engagement among the students was astonishing and what a wonderful experience for all involved.  Programs such as this should be increased, as it exposes our at-risk students to career opportunities that they may otherwise not have known about. The connections they made with particular subject areas and personal experiences throughout the program will benefit them for the future.”

“I thought the coding camp was great. The students seemed to enjoy it and worked very hard on creating their games. I could also see tie-ins to my geometry class.”

“The instructor was a natural teacher. He wanted to know his audience and what knowledge they had of the topic before beginning. He went through the components by naming and explaining what each did. When the students started building and the instructor saw something wrong, he never told them. He allowed each group to discover what they did wrong. Majority of the students appreciated that approach.”