The Minnetonka Public School District is no stranger to giving students access to cutting edge technology in our classrooms, even our youngest students get to dive into the exciting world of coding in elementary school. During the 'Hour of Code' event, Excelsior Elementary students used innovative programs and expert advice to learn about computer science.
The 'Hour of Code' is a one-hour event that strives to show the basics of computer coding. It is designed in such a way that truly allows anybody to be a coder; taking the confusion out of complicated computer concepts and getting to the basics of coding.
"We worked closely with our parent groups to create a unique event for our school," said Mr. Hao Li, a 5th grade Chinese teacher at Excelsior Elementary who also serves as coding lead. "There is no other school doing anything similar! We had Ozobot experiences for lower level students who just started to learn to code, Sphero robots for higher level students who can try out the more complicated application of coding via a cool running robot and we also had stations for students to engage in a more traditional web-based coding activities."
Stacy DeCorsey, principal at Excelsior Elementary, set a goal around the event, to ensure that all Excelsior students were able to try out new coding skills, regardless of grade level or experience. According to Principal DeCorsey, "Students will have huge advantages in the future through the coding efforts our teachers are supporting."
Teachers like Mr. Li know that "the goal of elementary coding/STEM is not to teach everyone to become future engineers, but to form the capability of understanding the basic concept of those perspectives so our students will be able to navigate themselves to where they want to be in a technologically advanced future."
In addition to the Hour of Code, all Minnetonka schools have their own unique coding program, Tonka Codes. This program is one of the first of its kind in the state of Minnesota. It gives students who aspire to learn more and possibly find a career in computer coding the chance to work on advanced skills.