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NewsMar 22, 2018

Teaching Computer Science to Elementary Students in Dallas

Justin Munn, Justin Wilson, and Phillip Dickey

Hour of Code is a worldwide movement to introduce computer science to students of all ages. Every year, people around the globe organize events to teach students the basics of programming. We recently had the opportunity to lead our own Hour of Code session at Ferris Intermediate School.

Hour of Code - Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook

The school reworked its entire schedule so our small team from Credera could talk to all 250 fourth and fifth graders. We split across three computer labs and each taught six classes of 15-20 students, covering the basic concepts of consulting, building software for our clients, and programming exercises designed to spark an interest in coding.

coding exercises

For our first exercise, we went to Google’s homepage to show the students how to view the code behind any website by right-clicking and using Chrome’s “Inspect.” We explained that websites were actually programs that could be changed in a browser. As a basic example, we edited the HTML to replace the Google logo with the Ferris Intermediate logo and change the background color, which was consistently met by gasps of amazement from the crowd.

Google HomepageEdited Google Homepage - Ferris Intermediate School

We were surprised to see how these small changes interested the students. The class broke into “oohs” and “ahs” each time we updated a color or made buttons larger. The students were learning basic concepts we tend to take for granted, but to them it was like magic. It gave us a heartwarming glimpse into the joy teachers create every day.

Credera - Hour of Code - Teaching

Next, we took them to Code.org for a “Create your own Google logo” programming exercise. The site helps you write code using a drag-and-drop interface, connecting statements together like puzzle pieces. Many students were hesitant at first, but once we showed them how to change the color of the Google logo with only a few lines of code, they quickly erupted into laughter and excitement.

real world impact

Several students said they thought programming was supposed to be boring, but now they think it’s fun and want to be “coders” when they grow up. Some said they were planning to go home and learn more about coding, which is incredible at such a young age. One was even adamant about wanting to work for Microsoft! They had a lot of fun writing 10 to 20 lines of code in the short time we had together and were eager to continue playing with the tool after we left.

Along the way, the students were engaged and asked a lot of questions. They enjoyed hearing about the work we had done with household names like Chili’s and Pep Boys. One student asked if we worked on Pep Boys appointments: “Because it really helped out my mom.” As a matter of fact, some of us did build that appointment scheduling system, and we were touched to hear how it made such a positive impression.

Another student was simply amazed that programming was a full-time job: “Wait, you code all day and get paid!?” she said incredulously. “That’s awesome.”

The whole experience was incredibly rewarding, and we all enjoyed getting to introduce the next generation to technology and see the impact our work makes in the lives of others.

Credera - Hour of Code - Classroom

making a difference with code

We were very grateful for the opportunity to take time away from serving our clients to serve our community. As technology consultants, we are uniquely qualified to teach students about computer science and show them the positive impact it can have on their lives.

After the success of our first Hour of Code event, we started working with other Credera staff to lead more Hour of Code events in schools near our Dallas office. We love being able to work for a company that has a culture focused on serving others and encourages us be servant leaders in our communities.

my credera

Culture is something that is experienced in a variety of different ways. We’re sharing the many ways Crederians experience our culture in a series called My Credera. The heart behind this series is for our company, employees, clients, and friends to have an inside look at the Credera culture by reading about our employees’ “My Credera” moments. In this series, we are talking about our core values, personal and professional growth, mentorship, community involvement, favorite Credera memories, life after college, and what it looks like to create a career at Credera.

At Credera, we love to celebrate every achievement, milestone, and moments of growth. We are excited to open up and invite you in to experience those celebrations with us. If you’d like to learn more about joining the Credera family, we invite you to visit our careers page.