NEWS-_Hour_of_Code1Duxbury students will be encouraged to spend time online next week as they partici pate in the first national Hour of Code program to focus on the importance of computer science in the 21st century.

The Hour of Code is part of Computer Science Education Week, Dec. 9-15. The idea is to promote the importance of learning and understanding how coding and computer science works and to have each student spend at least one hour during the week learning the foundation and basics of coding.

Students will work on a variety of self-guided tutorials that are accessible on a computer, tablet or smartphone as well as non-computer tutorials to help students learn the physical aspect of computational thinking.

In addition to the students participating in Hour of Code during school hours, the Duxbury Free Library has decided to welcome students to continue their participation using the library’s computers during the week. Students will be able to sign up for a time slot to use the computer and access the self-guided tutorials during the week. They will create their own account and will be able to track their progress as they move through the tutorials.

Ellen Snoeyenbos, young adult librarian, has started exploring the tutorials to get a feel for how they work so she will be able to help students next week. While students may have to focus on one specific tutorial during school hours, the library will allow them to explore other types of tutorials as well.

“Honestly, it’s addictive,” she said. “Once you go through the first and second tutorials, you really start to get a feel for how the whole thing works and you just can’t stop.”

Snoeyenbos has been working on a tutorial that has a farmer who needs to fill in holes in order to create a landscape. The tutorial gives the user options in the form of blocks that can be linked together to form a command for the farmer. For example, the farmer needs to fill in three holes with dirt, so the user must tell the farmer to move forward one step, fill in the hole and repeat that process three times. As the tutorials increase in difficulty, the links become more complicated.

“The coolest part about the tutorials is that after each lesson you can take a look at the code you created to make the farmer move forward and fill in the hole,” Snoeyenbos said. “The more you use the tutorials and the more you look at the coding, the better you begin to understand how it all works.”

On Monday, students were already asking Snoeyenbos if they could use the tutorials. Some already have experi ence with JavaScript and will be able to take the tutorials further and start to use their knowledge.

“I think it’s going to be a very popular program,” she said. “We don’t just want students to take part in the Hour of Code, we’d love for parents to explore the tutorials as well.”