Boyden-Hull gets computer lessons | New

HULL — Students in Sarah deVries’ computer classes in the Boyden-Hull School District don’t just watch screens and learn to code.

They learn to solve problems and show their creativity.

“I try to make things as fun as possible in the classroom so as to show the kids that this is a career in demand,” said deVries, a Rock Rapids native who is the new computer teacher. district for grades 5 to 12.

“It’s not just your typical person who enjoys playing video games. “

Its classes for grades 5-8 are organized as exploratory classes, in which students meet three times a week to learn the basics of how computers work. They also learn a simple form of coding called “block coding”.

In high school, deVries runs an introductory programming class in which his students work with circuit boards and Raspberry Pi models. They will eventually immerse themselves in learning a programming language called Python.

“We do everything in class just because it’s so convenient. They are evaluated based on their knowledge of circuit operation and troubleshooting, ”said deVries.

“Later they’ll be programming for the Raspberry Pi, and it’s going to be a very project-based learning and a very open book just because I want them to be able to create whatever they want to create. I have a fairly creative group.

His high school courses focus on digital computer skills, such as website design and building, as well as the use of Adobe programs like Photoshop.

All of her students use their school-provided MacBook Air laptops to use the various computer programs they learn in class. His programming students work at stations around his classroom while using circuit boards and robotic equipment.

Next semester, she will also teach a game design course using the online interactive teaching program, CodeHS. She still has a few details to work out on what this class will encompass, but the goal is to get her students to create an interactive game that people can play.

Although the district had offered a few computer-related courses before deVries arrived, it mainly focused on teaching at the higher levels and did not offer as much variety or learning opportunities.

However, deVries is used to leading a new college program.

Before coming to Boyden-Hull, the 24-year-old taught business for two years in the Harris-Lake Park school district. In this role, she also created this teaching post in the district.

“I used to find the program and ask myself: what should I do with a new class that has never been there? So this part really got me excited. I’m like ‘OK, I’m going to be able to do it again,’ said deVries.

She emphasizes to her students that learning computer science is not limited to learning the inner workings of technological equipment or the coding languages ​​they study. It’s about applying that knowledge to solve problems.

“In some ways it’s similar to art because sometimes you have a problem and the kids need some code to fix the problem, but the kids also need to have in mind: how am I going to fix it. this problem and what is my end goal? ” she said.

“So they are sort of intermediaries: how can I make the world a better place? How can I help this business that needs a problem? And if it’s thanks to technology, that’s great.

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