Computer coding class to be introduced in 2014-15

A new, specialized computer coding class, created to fulfill the state’s five credit computer-tech requirement and prepare students for AP Computer Science, will be introduced at the beginning of the 2014-15 school year.

Intro to Computer Science/Programming will be taught by Tom Clifford and will be more specific in its approach to coding than the current one-semester Introduction to Computer Science class.

One of the motivations behind the class is to provide students, specifically sophomores interested in classes like AP Computer Science and Engineering, an opportunity to first learn the basics of coding and programming.

“[The administration and I] were trying to figure out a way to have students come to AP Computer Science with a better foundation,” Clifford explains. “Without that foundation, it would be like taking AP French without having taken French.”

Clifford believes the course will create a smoother transition to either Engineering or AP Computer Science as students will not be trying to decode coding syntax, and he believes that trying to learn and apply conditionals, loops and algorithms will not be as daunting a task for students as it has previously been.

“The class will probably do well because it is a simplified version of AP,” current AP Computer Science student Jack Maughan believes. “Plus, students will not have the pressure of the AP exam.”

Although the current computer science class does cover certain types of coding with programs like Scratch, in the new class Clifford will be introducing Javascript and a program called Python to students.

Both one-semester classes will share some assignments, especially toward the beginning of the course. However, the coding section will not just focus on how a program works, but the many complexities behind it.

“It seems like coding is going to be a very important skill to have in the future with the development of technology,” says Evan Patel freshman, a future coding student.

While the number of students committed to the class has not yet been determined, administrators confirm that at least one section of the class will be offered for the 2014-2015 school year.

So far, 44 students have signed up for AP Computer Science, nine of whom are sophomores. Students may be moved to this new section to accommodate the class, which may affect students’ class choices for the following two years.

-Delaney King