December 7, 2023
from Bill Hudson, head of school
Next week, MPA will celebrate “Hour of Code,” an international movement of schools dedicating one hour to coding activities for students to introduce them to computer science. Instead of just one hour, MPA will dedicate the entire week of December 11-15 to activities designed to de-mystify “code” and demonstrate how anyone can learn the basics. The idea came from our Technology and Innovation Committee, comprised of our technology team and teachers from all divisions who meet regularly to better leverage technology to advance and enhance student learning and prepare students for college and life.
In keeping with our mission and values, technology is a critical aspect of a college-prep, progressive education that centers hands-on, experiential learning at the core of all we do. At MPA, our philosophy is that since technology surrounds us, its knowledge and skills are best learned through active participation. Our charge is to prepare our students to meet the challenges of this continually evolving digital environment with new ideas and new ways to use it that are spiraled throughout our curriculum.
I recently came across a quote that said that 85% of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t yet been invented. In a world of disruptive technological change with ever more rapid advances in generative artificial intelligence, I believe there is an urgent need for what Mike Walsh, CEO of Tomorrow, calls “citizen developers,” those who will be able to design work even if they lack formal programming skills. Likewise, director of academic technology Michael Moran shares, “By no means do we expect our students to become computer programmers; however, it’s our responsibility as educators to approach computer science and coding as a literacy.”
By providing opportunities for all MPA students to participate in the Hour of Code, we have an incredible opportunity to introduce students to not only coding basics but also reinforce critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving skills. This global movement not only prepares students for future careers in technology but also promotes equity in education by making computer science accessible to all K-12. We have a full agenda planned out for grades K-12. With the help of parent volunteers, teachers in our Library, Media, and Technology Department will engage students in a variety of activities throughout next week, including:
- The Upper School Robotics Team will be tour guides for first-grade and kindergarten students as they experience the Robotics Lab. Second-grade students will use the Code.com curriculum to attempt to crack lines of code and their iPads, while third and fourth-grade students will be introduced to color coding with Indi Cars by Spero during Library and Media time.
- Middle School students have a variety of breakout sessions, including using Scratch and Makey-Makey to create musical instruments. Other classes will use Tinker Cad, Micro-bit, and LEGO Robotics.
- In the Upper School, Hour of Code activities will occur in ninth and twelfth-grade seminars and throughout the day during study halls. Various sessions will allow students to use OctoStudio to code, learn how to code with AI, explore CNC Design with TurtleArt and Glowforge, and use TinkerCad to 3D print. Seniors will also meet virtually with a Video Game designer.
Adam Alter, author of the New York Times bestsellers “Irresistible” and “Drunk Tank Pink,” says, “If the twentieth century was governed by leaders of people, the twenty-first will be governed by leaders who understand the relationship between people are the technologies that define the modern workplace.” I am thrilled for MPA to join the global movement, as The Hour of Code is a gateway to computational thinking. We hope to empower our students to see themselves as part of a worldwide community interested in harnessing technology and computer science to dream big and do right, and create novel solutions to our most pressing societal needs.
If any MPA parent or guardian would like to be involved in ongoing activities, please contact Michael Moran at email@example.com.