PAUSD to host ‘Code Fest’ for K-12 students

    Programming

    The “Code Fest” will feature several workshops that serve to introduce students to coding. Students can expect to participate in events similar to the ones shown above. Photo by Smita Kolhatkar.

    The Palo Alto Unified School District is hosting its first free “Code Fest” for K-12 students as an introduction to coding from 1 to 5 p.m. Dec. 12 at JLS Middle School.

    The “Code Fest’s” goal is to teach PAUSD student coding skills that are becoming more important in the workforce, according to PAUSD Educational Technology TOSA Smita Kolhatkar.

    “The objective of the ‘Code Fest’ is to expose each K-12 student to look at coding as an integral part of his or her life like they do with Reading and Writing and Math,” Kolhatkar told the Voice in an email. “In the world today, every job requires some knowledge of coding. In addition, it [coding] builds on their [students] problem solving, critical thinking and creative skills.”

    Event organizers aim to make the “Code Fest” a district wide event. 

    “It is very exciting that we can organize the ‘Code Fest’ district-wide,” Kolhatkar said. “Our team includes teachers, a couple of administrators, parents and students from our elementary, middle and high school levels, making it a truly unified effort.”

    The “Code Fest” will overlay with the week-long “Hour of Code,” which is an event that was started by the nonprofit code.org three years ago to introduce computer science to students, according to Kolhatkar.

    At the event, high schoolers will learn how to apply computer science in various ways.

    “High schoolers can expect mobile devices and a range of robots,” Kolhatkar said. “Each of which will be accompanied by a set of challenges for various abilities. They will get hands-on time with every tool that they are introduced to. Each session is 50 minutes so they can work through at least one challenge with people guiding them if needed.”

    The event schedule will consist of three sessions during which students can experience some of 30 different areas of coding, ranging from iPads to robots, according to the “Code Fest” flyer. 

    1:00-1:25: Event Kick-Off

    1:30-2:25: Session 1

    2:30-3:25: Session 2

    3:30-4:25: Session 3

    4:30-4:50: Closing

    Though the “Code Fest” will not make students masters at computer science, organizers hope that students will walk away with more interest in the field.  

    “The program will introduce students to coding and go further in-depth with those who already have a basic knowledge,” Kolhatkar said. “Because one 50 minute session will not do justice to the range that is Computer Science, the hope is that everyone walks away with writing at least some lines of code, and with an excitement and eagerness to continue down the path, incorporating the skills into their lives.”

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