The Hour of Code event

20 December 2017

The auditorium is full to capacity of students busying themselves on their I-pads. We have taken this opportunity to find out more from Philippe Maigre the IT teacher who has organised this event.

Code.org is the non-profit organisation behind this initiative whose aim is to expand access to computer science and increase participation by women and underrepresented minorities.

Coding: what’s it all about?

It’s an introduction to computing designed to uncover the mystery of programming and demonstrate that anyone can learn the basics of programming. Every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science just like any other subject. We have been taking part in the Hour of Code since it was set up in 2014. Today, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon and many more support this initiative.

Why is IIL taking part in this project?

The school is a strong believer in the positive influence of the computer in the school environment particularly in its capacity to make students think, plan, organise themselves and learn to problem solve. Inspired by Seymour Papert and his book “Jaillissement de l’esprit” (1981), our aim is to plunge the student into different situations which are conducive to exploring and discovery through “play” and experimentation. It’s a bit like our first years of life where we learn many things at once in no specific order. Since the introduction of computers to the school in 1989, our teaching techniques have been developed by incorporating new technologies and challenges.

What do the pupils think?

The exercises are progressive. The children start off with simple tasks that they can master quite quickly. Thereafter the first mistakes appear requiring the individual to stop and question and take a fresh perspective of the problems and change tack accordingly. Each problem solved encourages and motivates the children. Their fears of not succeeding are lessened and they can therefore approach the next exercise more calmly. At the end of the lesson, each participant receives a certificate.

A few comments from the pupils in 9e:

“It wasn’t very difficult!”

“Girls are just as good as boys”

“It’s very interesting, it’s teaching us to program”

Which education policy does Hour of Code correspond to?

Hour of Code is an activity which is part of a broader computing policy within the school. IIL’s main aim is to give pupils an insight into several different areas linked to computing such as programming, videos, robotics, 3D design, plastic arts, mathematics. As a result, our pupils have gained high-quality expertise.

Interview with Philippe Maigre
IT teacher