To help celebrate Computer Science Week, students at Island View School, Saint John NB, participating in the Hour of Code not only learned about the importance of coding but they also got a chance to learn how to code alongside Saint John Riptide Basketball players today.

“I can’t think of a better way to tip off our season than by helping kids learn how to code. Our players know how to assess situations and quickly solve problems on the court. That’s kind of like coding” explained Scott VanWart, President of the Saint John Riptide.

Mr. VanWart is a computer science graduate from the University of New Brunswick and shared with students that his interest in computer science started as a grade four student “I was a student here, at IVS, I played basketball in the gym and used a Commodore 64 just down the hall from here in Ms. Mill’s class. It was very different from the computers you’re using today, but using that Commodore sparked my interest in computing. Today, I work to support the sport I love and programming the things that you use every day – like how you watch TV!”

Anthony Anderson has been playing in Saint John for 6 years, he grew up in Boston, MA. “We all use technology. I use it to help with my practices, but most of us don’t know how to read or write using computer languages. It’s important kids get the basics now, because no matter the career they choose, coding will give them more options. This is a great event.”

Many students were eager to learn how to code just like Mr. Anderson, but the majority of teachers aren’t experienced in computer science and aren’t sure where to start that’s why events like this are so important. “It was easier than I thought it would be and a lot of fun! I can’t wait to get a bee-bot for my son when he is a bit older” Mr. Anderson said with a smile.

Students did online tutorials and unplugged events like the human robot. Saint John Riptide players moved from event to event and even found student robot basketball players. Here Anthony Anderson & Anthony Stover worked with Grade 1 & 2 students as robots receiving instructions from student computer scientists to dribble and shoot the basket ball “As students moved through the activity they started to not only create advanced code but program their own functions too. That shows me they’re getting it and understanding the logic!” said Jeff Willson – Brilliant Labs.

We would like to thank the Saint John Riptide and IVS students for participating in the Hour of Code.