December 7-13, 2015 is Computer Science Education Week. The Hour of Code is a global grassroots initiative to introduce students to computer programming. Launched by code.org in 2013 with a vision that “every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science”, it went viral in a short period of time.
To participate in the Hour of Code movement, I conducted the Hour of Code classes for the K-8th graders at Saint Paul’s School in Clearwater. St. Paul’s is committed to teaching computer science to all their students. Pre-K through 5th have regular classes every week in technology and coding is offered as an elective for middle school students. Using resources from code.org, K-8th grade students programmed animations and games using block programming software. The themes that are used by code.org are very popular and appealing to students of all ages. Minecraft, Star Wars, Angry Birds, and Anna and Elsa, are some of the choices new coders may select from. The enthusiasm and participation were outstanding with many students continuing to use the programs at home. Because of the overwhelming interest, we spent several classes exploring some of the other coding resources available.
In addition to the truly excellent resources on code.org, some additional coding resources I like are:
- www.codecademy.com An excellent free resource for learning many computer languages.
- www.khanacademy.org Great interactive tutorials for computer programming.
- https://appsto.re/us/f2cYK.i Hopscotch is an award winning app for coding on an iPad.
The Hour of Code is a tremendous opportunity for educators, and provides all the resources to successfully conduct the event. No experience is necessary for the students or teachers, and excellent videos and tutorials are provided. Even if you missed Computer Science Education Week, don’t wait another year! These resources are available all the time so you introduce your students to coding!