Students at several Elgin Area School District U-46 schools are taking part this week in the global Hour of Code as part of Computer Science Education Week.
Coding -- a process to make a computer follow specific instructions -- is an in-demand job skill.
The Hour of Code began in 2013 as a way to introduce students to computer science, an effort supported by Microsoft, Apple, Amazon, Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the College Board. It's designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn the basics. More than 100 million students participated in an Hour of Code the last four years.
Many students at Glenbrook Elementary School in Streamwood have been learning coding with teacher Ellen Smith, who oversees a coding club for fourth- through sixth-graders.
Her fourth-graders spend about an hour per week working on computer science skills using activities on Code.org or Scratch, both free computer programming resources.
"It gives my students a basic understanding of computer science," Smith said. "There is only going to be more of a demand for coding skills going forward, and they all seem to enjoy it."
At neighboring Heritage Elementary School, fifth-grade dual language teacher Carol Romero started Hour of Code events two years ago. Her lessons are popular with students and teachers.
This week she hopes to expand coding events to more classrooms and launch a coding club in the spring.
"Coding enhances problem solving and higher level thinking skills," Romero said. "The students love creating lines of code."
Other U-46 schools participating in the Hour of Code or offering ongoing coding clubs and lessons are: Eastview Middle School and Liberty Elementary School in Bartlett; Elgin High School; Heritage and Oakhill elementary schools in Streamwood; and Highland and Hilltop elementary schools, and Larsen Middle School, all in Elgin.