Thursday, December 1, 2016

Celebrating Hour Of Code

When I was a senior in high school my school got their first computer lab. There had been computers here and there throughout the school but this was the first dedicated space for computing. For many teachers (and students too) the room was off limits. Either self-imposed isolation because they were scared they would break something or for most students they were not allowed to touch them because, you guessed it, they might break something.

I was one of the first students in the school to use the new lab because I joined the newly formed Computer Club. We learned about all the history of computing, the various parts of the computer and, my favorite part, learning BASIC to code flowers and move objects around the screen. I had so much fun! I wish I had kept up with it and continued learning coding.

Fast forward to today and now kids all over the globe celebrate Computer Science Education Week (CSEW) and, more importantly, Hour of Code the first week of December.

Hour of Code started as a way to demystify coding and give every kid the chance to see what coding is all about and how easy and fun it can be. While any hour can be taken at any point in the year, the Hour Of Code during CSEW aims to bring together every kid on the planet and for one hour, code something.

Hour of Code can be done in any classroom. You don’t even need a computer to code! All you need is an hour of time and some resources and anyone can code.

Here are several resources to celebrate Hour of Code:

Hour of Code-This is the main website to learn all about Hour of Code. You can sign your class up and add your pin to the growing map of other classrooms that are joining as well. There are tons of additional resources like websites and lesson plans. The coding activities target kids with themes like Star Wars, Frozen and Mona.

A Beginners Guide To Bringing Coding Into The Classroom-The article has several suggestions and resources to start coding in any classroom. It also lays out the importance of learning coding and how it can reinforce things like math skills.

Comparison of 50 Coding Tools-The list to end all lists. It you are thinking about coding in your classroom this is the list to look at. Lots of choices for every classroom.

Never Too Young To Code-Think coding is for older kids? Think again. Here is why kids as young as 4 and 5 can learn to code.

Hour of Code Suggestions By Grade Level-Here is a great list of all sorts of ways to integrate coding K-12.

15 Ways To Teach Coding (Even Without Technology)-No access to computers? No problem! Here are some suggestions on how you can do it with pencil and paper.

Edweb Coding and Robtics Community-Newly launched this community on Edweb will have webinars and conversations on the integration of coding and robtics into the classroom.

Coding doesn’t have to take place on computers either. Do you have iPads? There are great apps that are highly engaging and fun to support coding in the classroom.

Swift Playgrounds
Human Resource Machine

Remember, Hour of Code, while celebrated next week can take place any time. And it doesn’t have to be an hour only. Coding can build creativity, problem solving and math skills amongst other things. And it doesn’t have to happen in the computer lab. Coding can happen in any grade level and in any subject!

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