Ballard High School aims to get 2,000 students participating in - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Ballard High School aims to get 2,000 students participating in “Hour of Code” event this week

Posted: Updated:
Ballard High School senior Alex Ferne learns about coding during "Hour of Code" event being held this week Ballard High School senior Alex Ferne learns about coding during "Hour of Code" event being held this week
Students at Ballard High are joining millions worldwide in learning about computer coding this week. Students at Ballard High are joining millions worldwide in learning about computer coding this week.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Alex Ferne sits behind a computer inside the library at Ballard High School and at first glance, it might appear that he is playing the latest version of the popular game Angry Birds.

But in reality, the 17-year-old senior is learning the basic concepts of computer science with drag and drop programming – a self-guided tutorial as part of a nationwide effort called the “Hour of Code.”

“Most people don't realize that when they are on a computer, it's covered in lines and text,” said Ferne, who says he decided to learn coding as a hobby. “It's really a lot of fun.”

Millions of students across the globe are participating in the event this week – sponsored by the non-profit website Code.org and backed by big tech companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft – in an effort to expose more students to a potential career in computer programming and coding.

And while some schools across Louisville are participating as a class – Ballard is participating as an entire school by asking all 2,000 students to complete the “Hour of Code.”

“We decided to go big and ask all of our students to take part,” said Joshua Marsh, a teacher at Ballard who is helping lead the effort. “We have designated a special computer lab for them, they can use the computers in our library or they can do it in their classroom. All of our teachers have agreed to let their students be part of this effort.”

Students at Ballard are being allowed to participate any day this week during fifth, sixth and seventh periods – and once they complete the hour and show Marsh their certificate, they will be entered to win an iPad, which has been donated by NetTango, a local business.

“We are showing them the basics of computer programming and how they can get a computer program to do what they want it to do,” Marsh said.

Marsh said he and other teachers have noticed that many students are graduating from high school without any knowledge of coding – and they could potentially be missing out on a lucrative career.

According to data compiled from Code.org, the United States will have 1 million more computer science jobs than students with computer science degrees by 2020.

“A student with an undergraduate degree in web design or computer programming can earn a salary of about $70,000 a year,” Marsh said. “Maybe we will expose them to something they were never aware of that could lead to a great career for them.”

Tucker Monheimer, a junior at Ballard, said he heard about Hour of Code from teachers and his friends.

“I think it sounds pretty cool,” he said. “It seems like you can do a lot of stuff with coding. I'm curious to see what it's all about.”

In addition to schools, Apple is using its retail stores to promote Computer Science Education Week and Code.org by hosting  a free “Hour of Code” computer programming workshops for kids on Thursday.

In order to participate, you must register online. If there is no available appointment, you can visit the Hour of Code website for more information on other events taking place at nearby schools.

Reporter Antoinette Konz can be reached at 585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All rights reserved.
Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2017 WDRB. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.