The Hour of Code was started a few years ago to provide an opportunity for more students (and teachers) to get exposure to coding and programming. It’s been an overwhelming success and here we are at the brink of Hour of Code 2016 held in conjunction with Computer Science Education Week, December 5-11.
The initiative has seen some pretty substantial levels of success…
- there are more languages and robots to code with today than ever before
- teachers who might never have ventured into this area are giving it a shot
- in Ontario, there are many TLLP projects with their roots in the Hour of Code
- it’s not a strange thing to see a Computer Science club at schools where inquiring students go beyond the hour
- coding has come a long way from the days of learning commands and evolved to block programming
- and I’m sure that you can add your observations to the list
The mother ship, if you will, is the Hour of Code website and the links to rationale and many activities.
There is lots of discussion about the “why” to the Hour of Code. One that you hear constantly is that there are 200,000 technical jobs unfilled in Canada. If you need that as inspiration, go for it. Somehow, I think that the Grade 2 student doing a bit of Scratch isn’t quite ready for it yet. As I was out this morning, I saw a big tube television left at the side of the road. You know the ones that dimmed the lights in your house when you turned it on? I have no doubt in my mind that the owner thought this might well be the last television that they’d ever buy. Technology is such a fickle partner.
But it’s the deliverables that were important. A huge screen let them see ever detail. The audio was stereo. Awesome. The analogue signal pulled in by antenna was probably the best they’d ever seen. Try to find something with the same specs on sale in a store today!
Ditto for learning code. If you just focus on the code, you’ll miss the point.
Check the deliverables.
- student can learn some new commands
- student can make an object move on the screen on command
- student might even get the computer to make a sound or play a song
- students work collaboratively to solve problems
- students explain their thinking and explain/debate the logic with other
- students take a big problem, break it into its component parts, and solve it
- students ask “what happens if I do this?”
- students demand “what next?”
Every subject area would die for these opportunities.
Hopefully, everyone will be involved in the Hour of Code in their classrooms at whatever level works.
Please don’t consider it 60 minutes to check off to say that “we did it”. Please do consider that this is the launchpad for something pretty amazing. It’s there that you make a difference and set students off to benefit from all that coding offers.
Once again, I’ve cobbled together a collection of resources that I’m happy to share.