Greenwich Academy event helps students learn programming

Greenwich Academy faculty member Lee Mayfield works with first grade student Kristy Keil.

Greenwich Academy faculty member Lee Mayfield works with first grade student Kristy Keil.

Programming novices of all ages participated in the first ever Scratch Day Programming workshop at Greenwich Academy.

The event, which took place on Jan. 12., was attended by approximately 100 participants, comprising of students from Greenwich public and private schools, as well as local schools in the tristate area.

Students who attended the workshop learned how to use Scratch, a programming language and an online community that encourages individuals to try their hand at coding in an environment that is both visual and interactive.

Scratch is designed and maintained by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab.

The event was kicked off with keynote speaker Sarah Chipps. Ms. Chipps is the co-founder of Girls Develop It, an international organization that provides affordable programs to women who want to learn software development.

Ms. Chipps spoke about career opportunities available to those with programming skills and discussed common misconception about programming.

“You don’t have to love math and science to be good at programming,” she said, mentioning that as a software developer, she seldom uses her math background. Ms. Chipps also emphasized that programming is easy. To prove her point, she engaged the audience in a live group coding effort to build a new webpage.

The workshop included a variety of classes, such as Intro to Scratch, Building a Digital and Physical Rube Goldberg Machine with Scratch and MaKey MaKey Make? The latter was a session that combined the basics of hardware and circuit design with Scratch to build everything from game controllers to makeshift musical instruments.

The event was taught by faculty and staff from several area organizations including Greenwich Academy, Greens Farms Academy, the Logo Foundation and HTINK/NYC Makery.

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