Student Enthusiasm for Computer Science

Damien Hays is a teacher at Eisenhower Middle School in Goddard, Kansas. Damien was a computer science major in college before traveling abroad and changing his major to, and finishing a degree in, Spanish. Although Damien majored in Spanish, he continued working in the IT field and maintaining his IT/CS knowledge.

Last week we began a PLTW Gateway cybersecurity challenge, or – as the students lovingly call it – "The Hacking Challenge!" 

Prior to this lesson, we discussed the ins and outs of hacking as well as the severe consequences of doing so illegally. As an intro to the cybersecurity challenge, we talked about Android and iPhone unlock codes – specifically the four-digit numeric codes very similar to the web API service passwords. This transitioned perfectly into a discussion about cybersecurity issues in the news. By the end of the discussion, the room was bristling with energy as I laid out the grounds and rules for this assignment. The room burst into motion at my call of "GO!"

At this point in an assignment, it can be difficult to get students to document and brainstorm before hitting the keys to surf the figurative waves of App Inventor 2. This wasn't the case with this assignment; students immediately, and excitedly, began discussing strategy and brainstorming possible ways to quickly recover a forgotten numeric password. Before I knew it, "teams" were together and working very well to come up with solutions before splitting into pairs with their partners.

While students always have fun and see great results and insights into the coding world, this particular assignment leads the pack for go-get-'em, jump-in-feet-first, ultra-focused work!

PLTW’s blog is intended to serve as a forum for ideas and perspectives from across our network. The opinions expressed are those of each guest author.