By Emanuel Pena
Tilles Elementary School understands the current structure of society calls for leaders in technological innovation. School leaders understand the best way to contribute to the future of the workforce is to provide students with the opportunity to learn about technology and how it applies to the jobs they might want when they are older.
It is for these reasons that three years ago, Tilles’ Media Specialist Jennifer Lyon began a new initiative to bring technology to the elementary school's students through new computer science programs.
“I know everyone isn’t going to be a programmer,” Lyon said. “But it is important to give the students the chance to learn about innovations that will impact their future in the classroom and workforce.”
Lyon manages student involvement by offering a variety of courses for students in every grade.
The Coding Club teaches students about website design and maintenance. Kindergarten through sixth-grade students work on building algorithms, creating stories and learning through games on the computer.
Students apply the innovations learned from the computer based programs outside the computer lab as well.
They are able to better understand step-by-step instruction by creating algorithms. Algorithms also teach students why instructions are important and necessary for success.
Story-creating helps students learn a sense of ownership and allows them to feel pride in perfecting their skills. Students are able to work on those skills outside the classroom since every student attending Tilles has a personal laptop computer thanks to the One-to-One agenda of Fort Smith Public School’s Digital Conversion.
Lyon also teaches all her students how to cope with not always having instant gratification in a field that seems to have instant outcome.
These are all tools and lessons that faculty and administrators at Tilles hope will lead their students to success and teach them how to spread their skills into the community.