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An Hour of Coding Makes A Difference For Female High School Students

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OCHS

Pittsburgh has become a hub for technology and computer developments, thanks to institutions including Carnegie Mellon University and Google.

Local students who wish to one day join this field must learn at a young age the language of computers- coding.  

Last week students around the world took part in the second annual Hour of Code event in which they spent an hour learning computer code. The program was created by Hadi Partovi at Code.org to introduce individuals, not just students, to the coding process.

Oakland Catholic High School was one of the schools that participated in the event, and school president Mary Claire Kasunic stopped by Essential Pittsburgh to explain the significance of the program.

“It appealed to me as a former language teacher, because it is a type of language learning,” Kasunic said. “It’s problem solving, it’s a technical skill that you can learn. And really anybody can participate in it, anybody can learn the skill, with motivation to learn and practice and time.”

In 2013, only a handful of students at Oakland Catholic took part in the inaugural Hour of Coding. This year, the success of the first Hour of Coding combined with each student at the school having access to a computer led to the entire student body participating. Kasunic believes that knowing code will be very important in her students’ futures.

“It’s particularly important for a school like Oakland Catholic High school because we are an all-female school. Females are underrepresented in computer coding and computer science in general- about 80% of those in programming are male. And so as industries try to diversify and try to employ more females, they have a tough time. There isn’t a large pool. So anything we can do on the education end to expose our students to the possibilities and opportunities is advantageous.”

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