Carr’s new programming class is “making coding cool”

Carr%27s+new+programming+class+is+%22making+coding+cool%22

Clare Knutson

The beginning of the school year brought with it a new start, but also an experiment for the seventh period students of D-104 (along with a few others embedded in periods one and five) and their advisor Connie Carr. In an attempt to make Foothill even more technology-oriented, a new class is introduced this year: Introduction to Programming.

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Conni Carr’s new programming class hopes to “put the technology back in Foothill Technology.” Credit: Sarah Kagan/The Foothill Dragon Press

The beginning of the school year brought with it a new start, but also an experiment for the seventh period students of D-104 (along with a few others embedded in periods one and five) and their advisor Conni Carr. In an attempt to make Foothill even more technology-oriented, a new class is introduced this year: Introduction to Programming.

With the addition of athletics, along with new math and sciences standards, the time was right to pilot a new AP Computer Programming class along with thousands of students all over the country.

“We needed to put the technology back in Foothill Technology, beyond just having the mobile devices in the classrooms,” Carr said.

There are a few major differences between this class and others offered at Foothill. For one thing, the entire course is online and self-guided. Students all over the nation will learn through online videos and communicate through a forum. But most notably, Carr will be learning alongside her students.

 

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“My role this year is more of a coach, really,” she said. “I know how to teach. […] I understand what coding is, but it’s a new form I’m not used to.”

To aid in her mentoring role, Carr is taking the class too (along with another programming class at Ventura College), but with a head-start so she remains a few weeks ahead of the students. That way, she is able to provide support and give the classroom more of a family atmosphere.

As laid-back as the class is, it’s not without its pressures. The experience levels of the students range from those with no experience at all, to students who are self-taught and have more experience than Carr. It also happens to be an AP class, holding the students to a higher standard than a typical coding class might.

“I thought I ever never, ever want [to code] in my entire life, but it’s getting fun,” senior Renee Steiminger said. She was convinced to join the class despite her initial reservations.

Most students seem to agree.

“It’s so cool to be able to tell a computer to do something and have it happen,” senior Mitchell Boring said. “It makes me feel like some sort of computer wizard.”

While they are having fun learning how to code, the majority of students in the class have a more serious goal is mind; the Computer Science AP Test will be held in May of 2016. As this is the first year the class is being offered, it will be optional for students to actually take the test. However, at the moment the majority of the students do want to take it.

While Carr is hopeful that by the end of the year all the students will want to take the AP exam, she acknowledges that as the material becomes more and more difficult that students may change their minds. But whether the students take the test or not and whether they score high or low, Carr will enjoy every moment.

“My goal is to celebrate them all along the way,” she said. “Those that choose to take the AP test are just icing on the cake.”

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