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League of Coders Gather at Mann

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If you happened to be on Cornell’s Ithaca campus last week, you’ll have caught the lively buzz of 4H Career Explorations 2016, as hundreds of teen agers joined a variety of programs to explore some exciting new frontiers. Bravely game for the adventure, Cornell University Library information technology staff joined forces with middle school 4H students to leap into a challenging arena together …the utterly interactive world of computer coding.

For four different “League of Coders” sessions at Mann Library, groups of about 15 middle schoolers settled into theirclassroom computer stations to pick up some important tips of the trade from a team of seasoned Mann-based CUL info tech professionals. Darcy Branchini, Holly Mistlebauer, Huda Khan, Tahir Poduska and Sandy Payette each led different parts of the four classes, structuring their presentation around a task true to the 21st century library spirit and mindful of a key issue in today’s programming world: developing the code needed to view an online collection of information resources about women in computing.

Among the key concepts that the pros introduced to their young padawans: What a loop is in programming, how to construct a “for” loop to output items to a webpage, and how to observe this loop feature work through a loop game/activity. Then came time for the students to apply those concepts by coding their own loop, using Javascript. With plenty of help on hand from the attentive library team, students got a taste of flying solo in the coding world—and the benefit of that most priceless of educational experiences: learning by doing. Care to take a peek at some of the new ground they covered? Just visit their website at