Coding Academy Emphasizes Problem Solving Skills in Fun, Interactive Week


School News

Walsh University’s third and final Summer Academy camp, Coding, offered a fun, interactive week focused on problem solving skills and logic.

With 40 participants, the camp was led by Assistant Professor of Education Lisa Baylor, Ph.D., Division of Education graduate assistant Matt Horrisberger and recent Walsh graduate Rebecca Sankoe ’16.

"The goal of the camp was to allow middle school students an opportunity to learn coding from a variety of resources.  We opened up the week by discussing exactly how computers receive information, algorithms, commands, functions, and the binary system," said Dr. Baylor. "By the end of the four days, each participant was able to create animation using Scratch."

Scratch is a free programming language and online community used to create interactive stories, games and animations. Along with working with Scratch on the computers, the students also worked in stations throughout the week. Participants tried to solve puzzles on iPads with an app titled Cargo-Bot, a puzzle game that challenges the brain and helps users learn programming concepts.

A third station focused on programming skills through the use of a Sphero Ball by SPRK, an interactive sphere similar to the robot BB8 featured in the blockbuster "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Two Sphero Balls were purchased specifically for the Walsh Coding camp. The students wrote codes to accomplish a variety of tasks from working through a maze to making the ball dance. On Thursday, July 28, family and friends were invited to watch as the students competed in teams to see who could make it through the maze the fastest.

"By introducing or enhancing the problems solving techniques of coding, I hope each student gained knowledge about how computers work and possibly follow a career path in computer programming, software development, or hardware engineering," said Dr. Baylor. "Even if a participant does not follow a career in computer science, the skills developed while coding contribute to problem solving and logic skills that can be used in other content areas."