A single first step

I was a little hesitant to share my Hour of Code 2015 selection yesterday for a few reasons.

  1. It’s a big list.  It’s way too big for any individual classroom teacher to flip through and fully digest.
  2. It’s intimidating.  There are a lot of teachers who want to make the leap to introduce coding to their students.  You look at all of the offerings and can’t help but think “I have to do all that?”
  3. It can cause doubts.  Perhaps last year you spent an hour with students doing some scripting with Scratch.  Now, you see all these other offerings and might just second guess your choice.

For Computer Science nuts like me, the list has a great deal of value.  I enjoy going through the various options to see what the state of the industry is.  That’s just what I do.  We’ve come a long way since Logo but our roots are definitely visible in most of the things that are available.

But I can’t help but think that the sheer volume of things will make some people shy away from the concept and confirm what they’ve always thought about those of us whose passion is coding and being the evangelists for the discipline.

So, in all sincerity, what do you do?

First, if you did the Hour of Code last year with a particular product and were happy with the results, I wouldn’t change a thing.  If it was a good activity last year, it will be even better this year since you’ve had a year of experience.

If you weren’t happy with your results, either try again with the same tool and work towards better results (we all know that the first time teaching anything can be a challenge) or try something else that looks like it may be a little more appropriate for your class.

If you’re looking for a change, there are certainly some timely themes for an introduction to code with the Minecraft or Star Wars options.

If you have a computer club at your school or parents/students are looking to extend their interests at home, there is plenty of choice for your recommendation.

The whole notion just supports the concept of having a resource person at the district or school level familiar with all that’s available and give direction and support for one or two platforms in the schools.  I know that, for many teachers, it’s a new and scary concept.  On top of everything that is required of the job, you shouldn’t have to tackle something like this alone.

But, I really hope you do.

It’s good for you, your classroom, the school, and most importantly the kids.





OTR Links 11/30/2015

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

My Hour of Code 2015 Collection

OK, so I’ve been poking around adding things to a Flipboard document to support the Hour of Code 2015, December 7-13. 

It’s nothing compared to the TDSB resource that I had written about earlier this week but I like to collect hoard things.  I hadn’t told anyone about it; I just keep flipping things into it as I find them. 

The document wasn’t super secret or anything like that so I hadn’t made it private; I just hadn’t told anyone about it until now.

I was quite surprised this morning when I took a look and saw the analytics.

Somehow, it’s comforting to know that there are others who poke around looking for resources like this.  At the same time, it’s just a little creepy.  Anyway, at 32 articles and counting, I guess it’s time to share with anyone else who is interested.

Hour of Code 2015 Flipboard Collection

The biggest and loudest participant this year has to be the Minecraft activity.  I’ve poked around and had some fun with it.  Long time Logo enthusiasts will sit back, hopefully, and celebrate how modern clothes dress up things that we knew were good for kids years ago.

I don’t think there are too many bad choices to be made here.  Some of the things that I think are really worthy of consideration are:

The truly good thing about the Hour of Code is that it’s getting serious consideration in classrooms that might not otherwise have embraced the concept.  The Hour of Code has gained the momentum and reached more acceptance in the educational community.  That’s a really good thing. 

It’s so comforting to know that teachers are embracing the concepts of computational thinking.  What’s really good is to see the discussion that one hour isn’t enough.  People are looking to extend that time frame and, by design, making the student activities more rigorous.  The important part is that this makes it richer for the student and even more fun.

So, whether you’re a novice to the concept or an experienced veteran always on the prowl for great activities, keep at it. 

As my friends Sylvia Duckworth and Brian Aspinall note, there are 10 good reasons to teach coding. 

Once you’ve done it, you absolutely know that 10 is just a conservative number.

OTR Links 11/29/2015

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Two hashtags for today

There are two hashtags that you may wish to follow today.  In the province, there are two edCamp events happening today.

If they were only closer…

Instead, I’ll just add a couple of extra columns to Hootsuite to follow along.


Located at the Design Cofounders location on Spadina Street in Toronto, look for a full day of learning for this event, rescheduled from earlier this fall.  If you’re not at the event, you can follow the discussion at:  #edcamptoronto.  If you are at the event, make sure that you’re sharing with the world using that hashtag.  It looks to be a successful and large event.  As I write this, I checked and there are only 14 seats remaining. Rumour has it that there will be a taco bar there.

Organizers are:  @RusulAlrubail, @Dinamoati, @AddesaAT, and @callmemrmorris.


This offering is a little different.  In its first kick at it, the York Catholic DSB is offering an edCamp to teachers within that district.  They’re involved in a half-day professional learning event and will be using their district’s 21st Century learning hashtag ycdsb21c to spread the news and share the learning.

The event is organized by a team:

@DClaphamK12, @DianeMurgaski, and Carlos Sousa.


8:45 – 9:15 Gathering, Student Keynotes, Session topics organized
9:25 – 10:05 Session 1
10:15 – 10:55 Session 2
11:10 – 11:50 Session 3
11:55 – 12:05 Closing Remarks, Prizes
**Enjoy breakfast, networking, & conversation between sessions

These look like two terrific events offered to two different communities, have different organizational strategies, but remain true to the edCamp model of participant interest driven professional learning.  A common thread to both, beyond the learning, is door prizes!  How can you lose?

All the best to both events and make sure that you’re sharing lots!