Next week


This is a modified “post from the past”.  Last year, I ran this for Hour of Code 2018.  I’ve created a new Flipboard document of resources for 2019.  There are some new resources there and some updated from the past.  And, quite frankly, there are some classics.  After all, hours haven’t changed! 

If this is your year to jump or if you’re building on last year’s efforts, hopefully there’s something here to help your cause.  You don’t have to fly in an expert to lead your class; there are lots of terrific resources and ideas here. DIY.

Enjoy.


Next week, December 9-15 marks yet another Hour of Code, part of Computer Science Education Week.

This has been going on for a few years now.  It’s an opportunity to try coding exercises in the classroom and perhaps create an interest in Computer Science and future studies. In Ontario, there are formal courses for secondary school as described in this document.

Depending on who you are, it might be:

  • something else in education to ignore
  • a first opportunity to try some coding activities
  • a change to follow up with what you did last year
  • an opportunity to celebrate the coding that happens regularly in your classroom
  • or for Computer Science class where coding is done daily, an opportunity to reach out and try something new

Hopefully, if you’re reading this blog, you don’t fall into the first category!

All this past week, I’ve been toying with some of the offerings for this year and, like I do annually, I have created a Flipboard document of some of the things that I’ve found.  It’s certainly not inclusive but just might generate some interest or inspiration.

All of the past years’ collections are available as well.  I haven’t checked all of the links to see if they’re still active so clicker beware.

There should be no shortage of ideas.

I would encourage all educators to get involved whether it’s getting started or enhancing whatever it is that you’re doing or have done.  Everyone benefits when you do.

If you’re a social media user, take and share pictures, videos, blog posts, etc. so that we can all enjoy what’s happening in your classroom.

So, what are you doing this year?

Hour of Code 2014


The Hour of Code for 2014 is coming.  Teachers and students from all over will be using classroom tools to get a flavour for what coding/programming is all about.

There’s no one language that we’ve come to agreement on that would be perfect.  So, we’re all over the map with this one!  Choose one and do it well.

To help the cause, great people all over the web have been building activities and tutorials that will take one hour-ish to complete.  Hopefully, it doesn’t stop there and the coding activities and skills inspire great things to happen from this experience.  Computer Science is a wonderful discipline that opens so many doors.  It’s tough to believe that any student wouldn’t want to have an awareness of it with the chance of going into it big time.

On social media, I had been resting on my laurels because I had assembled some resources for last year’s event.  It occurred to me that the digitally responsible person would check the links for things that have gone away and be on the lookout for new resources.  That was the task yesterday.

I’m happy to announce and share the latest, greatest, up to datest, all links verified as of November 24, 2014, version.

Thanks to my digital friend Sue, in addition to the Learnist and Pearltree collections that I had last year, I create a Flipboard magazine with my new found abilities.  Thanks, Sue.  Links to them all appear below.  (They all point to the same resources; I just wanted to use a few tools)

I hope that you find these resources useful and that one or two of them might make it into your classroom for the Hour of Code, December 8-14, 2014.

p.s. if you have a favourite resource that isn’t included, shoot me the link and I’ll get it added.

p.p.s.  After I posted this, I realized that I might be visiting Brian Aspinall’s classroom today.  So, I whipped up another resource – this time using his excellent NKWiry resource.

My Own Flappy Bird


Like most people, I think, I was curious about Flappy Bird when I read about the success that the developer had with it but more importantly, the $50,000 a day that he was reportedly making from it.  I downloaded the app and played with it for a bit and got a bit frustrated trying to get a 1 for a score and so deleted it.  I don’t have time to master this nonsense.

Then I read that Flappy Bird was going to be pulled from the application stores, never to return.  I figured that this was either an indication that he’d made a gazillion dollars and just didn’t want to support it going forward.  After all, nothing succeeds like success.  Score 1 for me, Brandon.  The other option was that this was some ploy to get a lot of downloads in a hurry.  I figured that I’d help the cause.  I might never play it again but at least I’d have a little bit of history.  So, I downloaded it again.  Add two downloads to the big total for me.

Bored one afternoon, I figured it was about time that I mastered it.  I got up to 3.  Grrrr.  When I read that a friend of mine’s daughter had a pretty good score, I realized that I just wasn’t cut out for flapping.

On the UK Microsoft blog, there was a post to promote the UK Hour of Code.  It was titled “All in a Flap – How to create your very own Flappy Bird clone (Guest Post)”.  Now, there were warnings that people were posting malware in their own clones of Flappy Bird but here was the opportunity to write your own.  I wondered…

  • how would this play out for the classroom?
  • here was a chance to do something significant with Microsoft’s TouchDevelop code

The next step was predictable.  I sat down to work my way through the tutorial to see what I could do.

The tutorial was laid out in the form of a series of challenges.  Note the stars below.  Each is awarded at the end of the completion of a step.  Off I went.

greatjob

The development environment, with overlaid tutorial, is interesting.  Everything is designed to be tapped on to insert or edit your code as you go.  For this ol’ coder, the urge to use my keyboard was there.  However, I quickly boxed myself into a corner – the tutorial really was written for touch – so I gave in.  After a while, you just get used to it!  It’s not bad once you get the knack of it.  I did want to make my game a little different so instead of the suggested bat, I decided to flap with an orange.   It just didn’t cut it so I did go back and edit out the orange and replaced it with the bat.  The results made much more sense!

board

All along the way, there is a dialog to explain what would be done next.  You’re really stepping through the code development nicely.  Nothing is given to you – you have to add and edit everything.  I will admit to getting a bit frustrated but got over it in a hurry.  Once I decided to go with the mouse clicks to do the selection and editing, development moved along fairly nicely.  The only new challenge was when the desired action was on the next page of instructions.  Again, I got over that with a little patience.

The ongoing tutorial really did explain things nicely.  That will make it definitely easier to go back and modify the code afterwards.

instructions

When you’re done, it’s interesting to take a look at the code.  Having paid attention to the tutorial as I went along definitely made it easier to go back and modify the script to see what I could do to break a well put together program.   Selecting a line of code gets you back to the editing instructions.  The only thing missing was creating your own comments inline.

code

As you can see, I went with a desert theme.

desert

You’re prompted as you go to log in to save your code.  That’s always good advice.  It also gives you the ability to publish your code as an application from the web.

All in all, it was an interesting activity.  I started with the end in mind and just kept going.  Once completed, the real fun was in going through the code to see how it was developed and then modify it for my own fun and enjoyment.

You can’t beat writing your own game where you make your own rules and make things easy enough to get a high score.  I think I’m at 5.

Hour of Code Resources


As I noted in yesterday’s post, I hope that classrooms continue to incorporate coding into learning activities.  There are so many benefits and anyone with any kind of crystal ball can only see that the importance of being able to take control of one’s sure isn’t going to decrease.

To aid the cause, I have created a Pearltree of Resource for the Hour of Code.  There have been so many blog posts, newspaper articles, and class pages devoted for the advocation and sharing of successes.

I tried to focus on just the classroom room resources that one could use.  There were many developed and I’m not naive enough to say that this is the definitive list.  However, I am bold enough to say that this is a great place to start!

coding

You can access the Pearltree here.  Alternatively, I created a Learnist board with the same materials.

If you know of a resource that should be included, please let me know the resource.  I’d be happy to add it.