During a 24-hour coding marathon in Corvallis this weekend one team built a side-scrolling tower defense game meant to teach the player about global warming. One team built a text-based adventure game. And another built a game where you earn points by tossing a ball into a target.

“Every CodeDay I’m a little worried at the beginning,” said Adam Ryman, a volunteer with the event’s sponsoring nonprofit, Student RND. “But by the end I’m always impressed.”

Ryman, a University of Washington student, was a part of the first CodeDay event in Seattle in 2011, and attended the event to help facilitate the first CodeDay in Corvallis.

Around 30 students showed up for the coding event, which took place simultaneously in eight U.S. cities, of which Corvallis is the smallest. Ryman said about 60 students showed up to the Portland event, meaning Corvallis had more attendees per capita than Portland. According to Ryman, there were around 430 participants at the various CodeDay events nationwide this weekend.

Ryman said the purpose of CodeDay events are to inspire students to realize that they don’t need to wait for someone to teach them to program in college.

“The basic idea is to take someone who has little-to-no coding experience and have them build something substantial,” he said. He said this can inspire students to set aside time to work on projects and develop skill on their own.

Ryman added that the intense, no-sleep environment of coding marathons like this bring people together.

“You struggle a little bit together and you grow as a group,” he said.

Anthony Rimel covers K-12 education. He can be reached at 541-758-9526 or anthony.rimel@lee.net.

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