New Approach to Computer Science Education Week

The Hill School’s Computer Science program took a new approach this year for the annual Computer Science Education Week, from February 5 to 9. Unlike the “Hour of Code” last year, which attracted a lot of students, this year’s treasure hunt requires much more research and interaction.

A “Breakout Box” contains six riddles that involve general knowledge about technology and computer science. Students can form teams with no more than two computer science students to participate in the event. Since the computer science class has already covered some techniques to solve the puzzle, those who don’t take any computer science classes only need a bit of research to assist them in the activity. Damian Baraty, instructor of computer science, organized the activity for the education week.

“There’s no limit to how many people [can be] in the team;” Baraty said. “I’m hoping by doing this, we’re involving as many students as possible.” “The computer science department is hoping to expand the level of interest beyond the classrooms and the forensic team. Hopefully the activity [has been] engaging and challenging enough.”

The first two students to solve puzzles were Mariia Smyk ’20 and Anthony Martinez ’18. Though they don’t take any computer science classes, both are interested in technology and solving riddles.

“I got interested right after [Mr. Baraty] spoke at lunch,” Smyk said. “My friend and I came up with a bunch of ideas of how we’re going to solve this puzzle. Each of [the puzzles] make you look at things from a different perspective and each requires a different approach.”

Many students enjoyed Baraty’s initiatives to improve the program and popularize the fun aspects of computer science.

In this era of increased technology, computer programming, undeniably, becomes one of the more popular professions for the younger generation. Through this education week, the computer science department is hoping to expand the program and involve more students.

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