Last month you may have heard the buzz surrounding the Hour of Code. Every year students around the world participate in Hour of Code events. After school programs, technology teachers and classroom educators dedicate time during the second week of December to participate in an Hour of Code Event. But if you missed the Hour of Code in 2015 there is no reason to wait twelve months to get started. You can carve out an hour (or a few) to introduce students to computer coding any time of year!
The idea behind Hour of Code events and activities is to introduce students of all ages, interests and backgrounds to computer programming. The basics of computer coding can be explored through tutorials hosted online as well as through apps on smartphones and tablets. There are plenty of options for teachers looking to introduce students to coding, during small group and whole school activities.
Coding is how programmers tell computers what to do. You can think of it like a language that uses commands put together to give a computer instructions. There are different coding languages like HTML and Swift. Learning how to code is a great way to get students problem solving and thinking outside of the box. The field of computer science includes jobs as an analyst or engineer in many different industries.
The Hour of Code has a dedicated website full of tutorials for teachers and students interested in coding. It offers ideas and inspiration for teachers looking to bring the Hour of Code to their classroom. A handful of tablet apps, such as Hopscotch, introduces students to coding through an array of games as well as open space for students to create and explore freely.
I recently had the opportunity to visit the A. Harry Moore School in Jersey City, NJ. The fantastic teachers at this school designed a weeklong celebration of the Hour of Code. Students had the opportunity to create code that moved objects across the floor from one box to another by issuing a series of commands. They heard from guest speakers and had the chance to participate in collaborative activities requiring students to work in teams.
Did you participate in the Hour of Code? Do you teach coding in your school? Share your experience in the comments below!
Monica Burns is an EdTech & Curriculum Consultant and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.
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