South Dakota Middle School Teaches Students With Video Games

AppleMagazine|April 5, 2019

South Dakota Middle School Teaches Students With Video Games

When eighth-grader Alyssa Lingen started her information and communications technology class this year at Patrick Henry Middle School, the art student was repulsed by anything related to computer science, she said.

But the minute she saw the little elephant she created move across a computer screen, dodging bad guys to gather coins, computer science completely changed her future, she said.

That wouldn’t have been the case, though, if her teacher, Jason Whiting, had not opted to pioneer a coding course for middle school students this year. The course comes from Code.org, a national nonprofit focused on giving students access to computer science skills in schools for women and underrepresented minorities, according to the organization’s website, the Argus Leader reported.

He’s the only one in the Sioux Falls School District doing so, and he hopes teaching students how to build their own video games will only be the jumping off point for students to take computer science skills into future careers, he said.

“It’s really good,” Lingen said. “When I came into it, I didn’t think I was going to like it at all, and then I started learning how to code. ... And now I’m planning on taking JavaScript coding in high school, actually.”

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April 5, 2019