Staff Report

BENNINGTON -- According to a release distributed by the Vermont Agency of Education, this week (Dec. 9-15) marks what Gov. Peter Shumlin has dubbed Computer Science Education Week.

The week will coincide with the national "Hour of Code" event, a one-hour introduction to computer science programming which is designed to "demystify" computer code and show students the basics behind computer programming.

The program, which will be practiced annually, according to the release, is designed to show K-12 students the importance of computer science education.

The AOE noted that the governor’s proclamation also emphasizes the importance of an applied science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) approach in order to prepare students for college and jobs of the future.

Secretary of Education Armando Vilaseca said in the release that he considers technology to be a necessity for everyone -- especially Vermont students.

"This weeklong event provides our students and our schools an opportunity to showcase their talents and their work," he said.

Doug Patac, a technology teacher at Mount Anthony Union High School said the school will participate in the "Hour of Code" event.

For four days, students will practice code for 15 minutes during their computer science seminar period, according to Patac, which, at the end of the four days, will add up to one full hour.

Patac said he feels that both the weeklong initiative and the national hourlong program are important, especially since 90 percent of schools in the U.S. do not offer computer science as a class.

"We have all these computers which are a part of everything -- they’re in our refrigerators, our televisions, our washing machines -- but students don’t know how they work," Patac said. "Exposing the students to code is basically opening the door for them to see how these things are programmed and actually interact with them."

Patac said that when he signed up MAUHS, more than 5 million other students were also signed up.

For more information about the national "Hour of Code" program, visit www.code.org.