What is the Hour of Code?
The Hour of Code is a fun and engaging way to expose all kids to computer science. This is a world-wide effort to bring coding to girls and boys everywhere. The Hour of Code is sponsored by Code.org https://code.org/learn.
Are kids just playing video games?
With the tutorials our students use for Hour of Code, they are exposed to the skills needed for coding in the future. Many of the tutorials look like games, but look a little closer. The students are actually, making something happen, by selecting certain sequences of code. For primary students it may be as simple as getting a character through a maze with up, down, left, and right arrows, but the trick is to think ahead and predict the order which will make it successful. Older elementary students get more advanced with loops and if-then statements. They can even have a peek at the "real" code that is being used in the background.
Why would we spend an hour teaching this to kids?
The computer science industry will be looking for a large number of people to join the workforce in the future. It has been said that our students will take part in jobs that have not yet been created. Besides computer science, though, coding is a great way to experience problem solving, critical thinking, and strategic thinking. You have to have the end in mind, and develop a strategic plan to get there. You fail and learn from your mistakes. You find a new sense of persistence and resiliency to finish what you started.
No devices at home?
You can find lessons that walk kids through all of the skills above, but with paper, pencil, etc. It is more about the way of thinking than it is the technology at this age!
I hope you take time next week to ask you kids about the Hour of Code at Armstrong, and possibly save some time to look at some of the tutorials as a family. It is also a safe activity for Winter Break!
Kim Brooks, M.Ed.
Campus Instructional Technologist
Armstrong Hour of Code Activities for 2016: