We Are DeKalb County School District Winter 2018 - Page 9

music than anything I could with a conventional program.” Jones says his classes at Stephenson turned learning code “from something I need to succeed to something I’m going to enjoy. Now writing code is more accessible, approachable. I’m taking it further into life. It’s set in stone for my future.” He plans to study computer networking in college. “Writing programs is what I want to do. I want to construct programs, software. I want to know how systems tick.” Sonically Amazing Marilyn Hollis hopes EarSketch attracts more and more kids. After all, computer coding and STEAM learning increasingly defines their future … and ours. “Students can use computer languages to create their own sounds. Plus EarSketch has a library of samples and sounds they can use to create their own personal music. Those kids are going to learn how to become computer programmers, even if it’s by accident.” EarSketch in DeKalb may even develop a kind of American Idol luster. Schools using the program gathered at district headquarters this past fall for a competition showing off the musical chops of students. After presenting music samples in two styles - hip hop and country - Stephenson High School walked away with a win. Ralph Jones felt proud. “We didn’t just make songs that sounded good,” he says. “We cared about the code as much as the music, and it turned out to be sonically amazing.” Jones says his hip hop beat pushed the team from round one to round two. Another student coded a crowd-pleasing country music sample. And another team member coded a sample in Python to take the final round. “We won because we cared about what we were supposed to be learning,” Jones says. “This was more than just another assignment.” Winter 2018 | 9