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Shaler Area students learn to live by a 'code'

Shaler Area Elementary School fifth-graders Carolina Tellado, left, and Alexzia Seng practice coding during Computer Science Education Week in December. More than 1,000 students in grades four through six at Shaler Area Elementary completed an hour of coding practice in’s Hour of Code initiative.

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By Bethany Hofstetter
Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Shaler Area Elementary School students explored computer coding during Computer Science Education Week during December.

For the first year at the school, more than 1,000 students in the fourth through sixth grades completed an hour of coding instruction and practice in's Hour of Code initiative to encourage more than 10 million students to try coding.

The game-like program provides self-directed tutorials and cartoon characters to teach students how to create repeat-loops, conditionals and basic algorithms.

Shaler Area students were able to accomplish an hour of coding in one week in their exploring computer classes.

“Coding is important in so many aspects for our students at the elementary level,” said Brian Opiela, computer teacher.

“It gives our students an opportunity to solve problems and develop abstract thinking at this age. Using logical thinking will enable them to improve and develop in their mathematical skills and on standardize tests.

“Computers skills will be the way of life for our students in 10 years from now with a void of over 1 million careers. In many countries, it is being required for students to have their skills developed in their schools. Thus, it is essential for our students to have this competitive advantage, as well.”

Shaler Area Elementary computer teachers plan to incorporate the initiative into the curriculum as an annual event starting next year.

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or

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