BLOOMINGTON – In the fall 2016 semester, Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington IT club members taught coding to Clear Creek Elementary School 4th and 6th grade students through a program called Hour of Code. Hour of Code is a global initiative to introduce computer science to all ages in a fun and accessible format. IT club members Samantha Vanzant and Stephanie Etheridge followed Hour of Code curriculum available at code.org to instruct Clear Creek students for one hour every week.

Dr. Diana Nixon, Ivy Tech assistant professor of computing and informatics, coordinated the project with Clear Creek Elementary. “All reports are that everyone loved it,” said Nixon. “One of my goals for the project was to introduce young students, and particularly girls, to coding. Studies show that girls steer away from STEM fields in middle school, and we’re trying to get them inspired before then. The project also benefitted Ivy Tech students because teaching requires a level of mastery beyond ordinary studies.”

Nixon serves on the Indiana committee for Expanding Computing Education Pathways, which works to increase the number and diversity of students in the pipeline to computing and informatics degree programs. Nixon says she hopes to expand her “Hour of Code” program in the future, involving more schools and more Ivy Tech students.

Stephanie Etheridge enjoyed the enthusiasm of Clear Creek students. “This is an extra-curricular, after-school program so the children want to be there and are eager to learn. I also enjoy thinking that I am playing a small role in shaping young minds,” she said.

Etheridge holds a degree in Accounting from Ivy Tech and decided to change her career path to Computing and Informatics when she was re-organized out of her place of employment. She re-enrolled at Ivy Tech and is now pursuing an associate degree in Software Development. She is also a member of the Phi Thera Kappa honor society. “After I graduate I would like to secure employment either writing code for software programs or in web development,” she said.

Etheridge says she would love to see the Hour of Code program grow and hopes Clear Creek students continue to take part in coding programs as they grow older. “I hope students are talking about this program to their friends and that their friends will be curious enough to sign up for the program next year,” she said.

Information about Ivy Tech’s Computing and Informatics associate degree program can be found online at www.ivytech.edu/computers.

Ivy Tech spring classes begin January 17, 2017. To enroll, visit www.ivytech.edu/applynow, stop into Ivy Tech Bloomington located at 200 Daniels Way, or call (812) 330-6013. Ivy Tech is open Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Source: Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington News (https://ivytechbloomington.wordpress.com/2017/01/06/ivy-tech-students-teach-coding-at-clear-creek-elementary/)