#CSEdWeek: Building the Future with City Year

 |   Bay Area Staff

Each December, Microsoft is proud to partner on a global level with code.org and their Hour of Code program. The Hour of Code is a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries. Anyone, anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event. One-hour tutorials are available in over 45 languages. No experience needed. Ages 4 to 104. Find free tutorials here: https://hourofcode.com/us. In the Bay Area we are partnering with City Year to deliver an HOC session. Below, City Year Volunteer, Dorothy Arroyo, shares her experience learning technology.

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My name is Dorothy Arroyo. I am 20 years old, and have experienced generations of technology in my two decades. In school, I was taught typing, PowerPoint, and Excel; anything more I wanted to learn, I would have to find on the internet on my own time. There was no pathway that would take me into the world of programming. I was never taught about coding in school, nor did any teachers push me to research it, so I was never interested.

When I was ten, my older sister Cecelia was inspired by the video game Zelda to learn to create an 8-bit video game. She was my role model, and I wanted to do everything that she did, so I wanted to make video games too. But I couldn’t follow in her footsteps – I was too painfully unfamiliar with coding language, and I didn’t even know where to start. This is why I believe it is so important that children are exposed to coding in school: children can see a path to explore in the event they choose to further pursue technology.

Now, I co-lead a class of sixth-grade students in an afterschool program as part of the City Year Microsoft team at Ocala STEAM Academy in San Jose, where we teach coding. First, we had our students learn by using free online programs that teach students how to code using Scratch. Then we introduced an opportunity to learn code after the students finished their homework every day.

It makes me happy to watch my students explore the world of coding. My student Diego, who is 11, comes into class most days carrying a Legend of Zelda facts book. He is absolutely enchanted by the game and its fictional universe. I see in his eyes the passion and curiosity that my sister had about video games. When I saw him create his first game through Scratch, I felt like I had given to him what I never got as a sixth grader – the knowledge of coding.

I have started to create a path for my students’ future. With coding on their radars before high school, they are set up to create amazing presentations, media and technology. We are giving children the chance to see coding early in their lives. Allowing kids to explore the world of video-game programming will allow them to grow, as students and as people. This is incredibly powerful for their future careers. In teaching coding, we are giving them the chance to build a skill set that could change our world.

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fullsizerenderDorothy Arroyo aspires to open an outdoor education recreation center for underprivileged children in her hometown of Milford, New Hampshire. She completed two years of her Environmental Studies Major at Keene State College. Dorothy is currently taking a gap year to further her experience in education for the benefit of her recreation center. Dorothy will return to Keene State College as a junior in the Fall of 2017.

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