Lincoln Academy students Ben Gordon and Jacob Caron work on coding in LA’s Exploring Computer Science Class.

This fall, the Exploring Computer Science class at Lincoln Academy learned how to produce websites from scratch. Students learned new programming languages by emulating the work of real world programmers, helping them develop the skills and confidence to continue to learn and become even more proficient as they move forward with future projects.

Working in teams, students decided on a topic, designed and constructed individual webpages then linked them together into working websites. This is a significant accomplishment for the tenth, eleventh, and twelfth graders taking this introductory level computer science course. They worked together in ways that model the work of professional website developers.

Junior Sebastian Chesebro said, “It was fun and I learned something that can be widely expanded on and could be useful in the future.” The students choose topics ranging from Recycling to Coral Reef diversity and preservation.

Many students didn’t know that developing these real world skills was part of what they would learn when they signed up for the course. While most are still beginners in web programming languages, they are becoming adept in problem solving which is the central concept of Computer Science. Computer Science is asking “How can I solve this specific problem” and then figuring it out via trial and error.

When asked about the difficulty of learning a programming language, sophomore Lily Swanberg said, “It was much easier than I expected. I have learned a lot, can do so much with these skills, and it was fun.”

“Bugs” in the code are expected and debugging is a collaborative effort. Students are encouraged to turn to a neighbor and ask for help. Through this process the students became accustomed to both asking for and providing assistance to their peers. The peer review process is emphasized. Before a project can be considered final, students must complete a peer review process with another student or group of students, and evaluate whether to implement the feedback received. When complete, students showed their sites to the class.

The learning objectives of the web development class are to enable the students to see themselves as actual programmers as they create solutions and express themselves in this exciting medium. “It’s been very interesting and I’ve learned a lot of stuff I never thought I would learn in my life,” said sophomore Connor Parsons.

Lincoln Academy’s Computer Sciences classes use Code.org curricula which feature HTML (hypertext markup language) the language that drives webpages and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) which defines the look and feel of the website elements. Computer Science is offered under the Design, Engineering, and Technology Department with classes held in the campus Applied Technology and Engineering Center (ATEC).