Our Islands, Our Future

In celebration of Computer Science Education Week in December, Hour of Code, a nationwide campaign featuring free tutorials designed to get students interested in computer science, was held at Kamaliʻi Elementary School in Kihei. Maui Economic Development Board’s Women in Technology Project (WIT) was a sponsor for the one-hour introduction. Children and adults were taught basic concepts of computer programming that offered them learning tools needed to create and communicate new ideas. “Hour of Code is an international movement to promote computer science education and call awareness to exciting 21st century career paths,” said Peter Hansen, Kamaliʻi School computer teacher. “Learning to code helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and originality. One hour is enough to learn that computer science is fun and creative, that it is accessible for all ages, for everyone.”

The tutorials teach a computer language called JavaScript which is designed to perform a certain task. By dragging and placing blocks of code in the computer program, the code tells the computer what to display on the screen. A JavaScript function is executed when something invokes it; hence students learn that all they see and do begins with lines of computer code. “I hope that through this event Kamaliʻi School’s technology program will receive some attention and parents and community members will begin to understand the importance of having computer science education for all students, even at the elementary level,” explained Hansen. Lucy Dryhurst, Kamaliʻi 5th grader said, “I learned through Hour of Code that by following directions on a game with a lot of thinking steps, I can write code. I like doing it a lot. It is fun and creative!”

WIT is an extraordinary program,” Hansen noted. “They offered monetary support that made it possible to provide food and drinks for Hour of Code, not to mention donating the prizes and connecting us with volunteers.” In addition to this event, WIT provides professional educational opportunities for teachers and workshops for students, developing Maui’s future workforce.

On behalf of myself and Kamali’i School thank you very much, WIT, for your continuing support for Maui County teachers and students.

Peter Hansen, Kamaliʻi School Computer Teacher