Last year was Computer Science Education Week and many classes were involved in the Hour of Code. There were some amazing stories and pictures that folks shared of the success. I didn’t personally read any “I gave up” messages so that’s good.
The question now becomes “What Now?” Will you let this be on of those “one and done” deals?
The original goal was probably focused on getting an awareness for students about what coding is all about. I think that there’s a huge side benefit from the teacher perspective – being able to witness student activity with something completely new.
A list of takeaways might include:
- an introduction to a new programming or scripting language;
- a sense of satisfaction that you can actually control a device when you know the proper instructions;
- a renewed appreciation for the power of collaboration as students work together to solve a problem;
- affirmation that the teacher doesn’t need to know everything in order for success to happen;
- students are motivated to continue their coding at home;
- everyone learns;
- online networking with colleagues for shared learning and ideas around the Hour of Code…
I could go on and on. Hopefully, you’ll add something in the comments to describe the success that you had.
I just hope that coding isn’t seen as an event and classroom life returns back to normal, whatever your normal is. Are there regular activities that now lend themselves to a coding solution? Is it time to start a coding club or competition?
What struck me as amazing were the alternatives that were available for classes during the Hour of Code. It wasn’t just “let’s learn this language”. It was “let’s learn to code and this language will be our vehicle”. Alfred Thompson put a secondary school spin on it with a post “There Is No Best Programming Language“. Stephen Downes takes Alfred’s post and adds his own spin, cautioning everyone that there is no one correct path. Both posts are great food for thought.
In my reading, I stumbled upon a very interesting infographic from Lifehacker. It’s in a post called “Learn Which Programming Language to Choose With This Infographic“. I would take the salary figures with a grain of digital literacy salt but this is a wonderful overview and I certainly have it bookmarked for future use. Use the link above.
So, what happens for you next in your professional life?
Hopefully, the experience has opened your eyes to the alternatives. If you didn’t participate, it’s not too late – coding is a good skill for any hour in the curricular year. I know that some folks live and die with how things fit into SAMR. I’m not one of them – I think that the computer has two abilities – the ability to do things differently and the ability to do different things. Coding fits nicely.
In terms of your own professional growth in the field, consider some of the following…
- participate in the various Twitter discussions – csk8 – csunplugged – kidscancode – hourofcode – techgirls – oncsed
- attend the Association for Computer Studies Educators 2015 Conference
- attend the Computer Science Teachers’ Association 2015 Conference
Just don’t let it drop because the week is over.
How to you intend to keep the excitement alive?