I was a little hesitant to share my Hour of Code 2015 selection yesterday for a few reasons.
- It’s a big list. It’s way too big for any individual classroom teacher to flip through and fully digest.
- 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?”
- 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.