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Wyoming Indian High School Hosts "Hour Of Code" Event

Savannah Maher

An event at Wyoming Indian High School in Ethete introduced more than 300 students to computer science this week. Representatives from Facebook and the online learning platform Code HS visited the school and led students in creative coding exercises as part of the "Hour of Code" initiative.

"We've created an experience called 'Code Music' where students are able to build their own musical beat in less than 60 minutes. And at the end we have a beats battle and then we have a winning prize," said Salleha Chaudhry of Facebook's education modernization team.

Students from Wyoming Indian High School, Wyoming Indian Middle School and St. Stephen's Indian School filtered in and out throughout the day to compete in the coding contests. The goal was to make computer programming approachable to beginners, but some students already had experience.

During an afternoon session, 12th grader Trinity Bethel was using JavaScript to design a geometric pattern. She said she'd been taking computer science classes at Wyoming Indian for two years, and that she hopes to keep learning the skill in college.

"I guess it gives us more opportunity. If I was not learning [computer science] in high school, I wouldn't know of it. I wouldn't be interested in it. This is giving me an option that 'Hey, I actually like this, I can probably do this in the future,'" Bethel said.

The Wyoming State legislature recently mandated that Wyoming schools provide computer science instruction by 2022. Wyoming Indian currently offers a year-long Computer Science Principals course based in JavaScript and semester-long courses in web development and cyber security, as well as an after school computer programming club.

Wednesday's event was planned ahead of International Computer Science Education week, which runs from December 9 to the 13. Facilitators from Facebook and Code HS traveled from Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco to work with the students.

Have a question about this story? Contact the reporter, Savannah Maher, at smaher4@uwyo.edu.

Savannah comes to Wyoming Public Media from NPR’s midday show Here & Now, where her work explored everything from Native peoples’ fraught relationship with American elections to the erosion of press freedoms for tribal media outlets. A proud citizen of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, she’s excited to get to know the people of the Wind River reservation and dig into the stories that matter to them.
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