CEDARVILLE — Becky Crew is hoping to carve out her own niche in the fitness world.
And the Cedarville High School junior is using a new class being offered by select schools — including Cedarville High School — to help. Crew, along with other Cedarville students are in a computer programming class being taught by Angela Yake.
An active participant in the dance fitness program Zumba, Crew is using the class to design an application (app) to satisfy some unfilled needs. The course is modeled after CS50x, Harvard University’s introduction to computer science and the art of programming. Harvard and Microsoft are providing the curriculum and support to just 70 classes nationwide and only two in Ohio.
“There wasn’t an app that I like,” Crew said. “There wasn’t a legit app that had lessons. I came up with a big paper with stuff that it’s going to include. I can’t give away too much about my app because I don’t want somebody to steal it.”
That’s the type of attitude and forword thinking Yake was hoping to see when she sent in the application to be part of the pilot and offer coding in the district for the first time. Eighth-grade students are required to take the class for one nine-week session.
“It’s my effort to introduce them,” Yake said. “They will have a taste of what the coding course is.”
High school kids take the class as a year-long elective.
“They seem to be enjoying it,” Yake said. “There’s so many facets to computer science in general. There’s so many things they want to get involved in that we can’t touch in an intro course.”
It started with a basic understanding of how a computer works, and progressed to HyperText Markup Language commonly known as HTML and PHP, a server-side scripting language designed for web development but also used as a general-purpose programming language.
That’s why sophomore Ethan Leisure took Yake’s class.
“I was interested in learning more about computers and programming and how they worked,” he said. “It’s really fun. We have a great time. Sometimes we get stuck on problems but we just have to pull them out.”
In addition to learning coding, each student is working on a project showing off the knowledge they have picked up from the class. Yake has given her charges free reign with regards to their work.
“I haven’t left them with any parameters,” she said. “They’re really challenging themselves. They’re just grabbing onto things that they’re interested in.”
Yake and her students will have a chance to display their work Friday, April 8 when Cedarville hosts a computer science fair. The class has formally invited President Obama, and other elected officials including U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, U.S. Congressman Mike Turner, Gov. Kasich, Ohio representatives Bob Hackett and Rick Perales and former state senator Chris Widener.
Each student will have approximately 90 seconds to speak about their project.
“It’s going to come to life when we do our presentation,” Crew said of her ever-developing app.