Saturday, December 5, 2015

The 411 on Coding in the Classroom: Celebrating the Hour of Code and Beyond!

The Hour of Code is movement that aims to get people all over the world interested in computer science. The Hour of Code will be officially celebrated during the week of December 7-13, 2015. You can register your Hour of Code celebration here if you haven't already. As many of us, including myself, we are looking to our PLN for ideas and resources to get us started. So, in preparation for the Hour of Code #TOSAChat recently focused on Coding in the Classroom (storified chat here) and shared a ton of resources that support teaching coding and computer science! 

Why Code?

Ann Kozma (@annkozma723) shared this quote from +EdSurge @edsurge "Coding is the new literacy. It will not replace foreign languages, but it will be the global vernacular for understanding how technologies work." Why You Should Learn to Code (and How to Actually Do It!) an article from DIY Genius (@diygeniusEDU) that tells us why we should learn to code and actually DOES provide some great resources for how to do it! Still not sold on coding? Check out this "10 Reasons to Teach Coding" sketchnote by the amazing Sylvia Duckworth (@sylviaduckworth), my favorite reason is "Coding gives you superpowers!".

Celebrating the Hour of Code

How will you celebrate the Hour of Code? There are many, many opportunities for everyone to celebrate and as the movement grows year after year more programs and apps will be available. Rae Fearing (@RaeFearing) shared this amazing Hour of Code hyperdoc that is quite literally a one stop coding resource shop! So many resources to choose from! Also check out Bryan Lachapelle's (@LachapelleB) awesome Hour of Code hyperdoc for students!

New to Coding? No Problem!

Most of us are new(er) to coding and most likely have students who are brand new as well. Luckily there are a lot of resources out there to support those of us who are just getting our feet wet in the world of computer science. Here are some resources that will help get you started including an Intro to Coding hyperdoc that I shared during the chat. 

Online Resources:

Computer Science Clubs/Programs:
  • Google's CS First (Computer Science First) a FREE program that increases students' access to  computer science.

Going Deeper Than Drag and Drop

As JN (@iCoder1978) points out, coding is more than just drag and drop. It's important for students to understand that visual programming, like blockly, is the beginning and that text based code like, Javascript, is next step. Check out "Why does use Blockly, a visual programming language, for its intro to Computer Science course?" which gives a MUCH better explanation than I can here. If you or your students are ready to take the plunge into text-based languages there are many resources out there for you to get started.

Khan Academy has an Hour of Drawing with Code that teaches drawing using JavaScript and ProcessingJS. Check out the intro video to learn more.

If you're a novice yourself but looking for a resource that will take your students farther into the world of computer science check out A sequence of tutorials that uses processing to teach programming. These tutorials are definitely appropriate for upper elementary too!

Amanda Haughs (@MsHaughs) suggests having advanced coders learn through Khan Academy. Students can check out Khan Academy's Intro to HTML/CSS Making webpages. Tutorials start with the basics and build up to challenges and projects. Students can then use HTML on Google Sites! A fantastic way to integrate computer science skills into Google Apps! 

Taking Coding Above and Beyond!

Robots are cool. Drones are awesome. What better way to take coding to the next level than to code a robot to drive or roll or to program a drone to fly? These amazing tech tools give kids an incredibly engaging and fun experience as they are learning to code. Watching students draw a track then reason logically through the steps as they write the code to get their robot to drive on it it is one of the coolest things I have seen! If you are interested in getting your students coding with robots and drones check out these recommendations that are #TOSAChat tested and kid approved.

Dash from Wonder Workshop is an adorable little robot that can be programmed using 5 different apps available on IOS and Android! The various apps make it possible for students from pre-k+ to begin programming a robot. Dash starts at $149.99 and will need an app compatible device to be used with it.

SPHERO makes an app enabled, you guessed it, sphere shaped robots (although Ollie is more cylinder shaped) that work with both IOS and Android. There are a few different kinds to choose from including the new Star Wars robot BB-8! Also check out the SPRK edition made to be used in an education setting to give students a "crash course" in programming with this awesome robot.

Parrot Drones come highly recommended from those on Twitter (like Brian Briggs @bribriggs) who have been using them in education. Need ideas for using Drones to teach? Check out 7 Ways to Use Drones in the Classroom by Edutopia and join the Drones for Schools G+ community.

Have more resources? Please share them in the comments below! 

Happy coding everyone!

#TOSAChat was started by Ben Cogswell (@Cogswell_ben), Joe Young (@Jyoung1219), Kelly Martin (@kmartintahoe) and myself  as a way for Teachers On Special Assignment to connect, share and grow together. Check out to view past chats, storify links and upcoming questions. You can join us at 8PM PST on Monday nights.

No comments:

Post a Comment