Teenagers Learn to Code From Darth Vader and Elsa Teenagers Learn to Code From Darth Vader and Elsa

A local library hosted an event to help teens see the creativity in coding.

VALENTINE: Topping the news at this hour, teenagers are using computer games to learn and practice their coding skills. NCC News’ Jenna Webster is live at the Northern Onondaga Public Library in North Syracuse. Jenna, what’s going on there?

WEBSTER: Well Owen, so far no one is here yet, but the Hour of Code just started, so there’s still some time for people to come. But the website they’re using has everything from Frozen to Star Wars themed games. The teen librarian, Raena Pellichet, says her goal is to teach teenagers that coding can be creative and fun.

PELLICHET: “I think it’s a great way to make coding seem more accessible, because they are using games and these fun activities, so coding doesn’t seem too intimidating.”

WEBSTER: Pellichet says that while today’s Hour of Code is for both boys and girls, she also offers a Girls Who Code program to help encourage girls to get involved in the STEM field. Jenna Webster, NCC News.

North Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News) — With a few simple clicks on her keyboard, teen librarian Raena Pellichet demonstrated how easy it can be to create code on computer games. She wrote simple phrases such as “move left” or “move right” to progress her computer character through different levels in the games.

The Northern Onondaga Public Library in North Syracuse hosted an Hour of Code on March 4 where teenagers could come learn and practice how to code using different games from code.org. Pellichet said she hoped the hour would teach teenagers about the technology they use every day.

“Computers and technology are such a huge part of our everyday lives, and teens and kids in particular, have grown up in the environment surrounded by technology,” Pellichet said. “It allows them to connect with the technology they use every day and understand how it works a little bit more.”

The website includes themed games from Star Wars to Frozen, so teenagers can individualize their time based on experience level and what they’re interested in. Some games teach them how to write their own coding language. More basic games have the language already written in order to teach the correct order of codes. Other games are more creative and users can write code for what they want the character to be wearing.

“It gives them the idea that they can do these things and that they can be creative with it, and it’s not this strict box that they think of when they think of coding,” Pellichet said. “It allows them to learn problem solving and using logic and creativity to do different things.”

While both teenage boys and girls participated in the Hour of Code, Pellichet stressed the importance of teaching young girls how to code.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, the science, technology, engineering and math fields (STEM) that has had the most job growth in the past few years is in computer occupations. However, fewer women choose this career path now compared to 1990. As of January 2018, Pew found women made up 25 percent of the computer occupations workforce as compared to 32 percent in 1990.

Because of this, Pellichet also hosts a Girls Who Code program.

“[The national program aims to] correct that imbalance, and help girls see that they can have a place in this field as well,” Pellichet said.

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Jenna Webster

Jenna Webster is a sophomore Broadcast and Digital Journalism major at Syracuse University with minors in Sport Management and Political Science. She currently works at Citrus TV, the campus's student-run television station and previously wrote for the Daily Orange. Jenna is from the Bay Area in California and prefers the sunny state over the Syracuse snow!

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