Going Beyond an Hour of Coding!
Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual initiative that aims to inspire K-12 students to take interest in computer science. During this annual program, schools around the world host their own Hour of Code™. Organized by Code.org, Hour of Code™ is a one-hour basic introduction designed to celebrate and expand participation in computer science. This year, CSEdWeek took place from December 5th to 11th, and two of edWeb.net’s professional learning communities (PLC) presented webinars that highlighted the importance of coding and computer science in education.
The Coding & Robotics K-8 PLC, sponsored by Wonder Workshop, hosted the webinar, “Beyond the Hour of Code: Implementation for All,” on December 6th. Bryan Miller, Educator Community Manager at Wonder Workshop, and Kiki Prottsman, Curriculum Development Manager at Code.org®, presented on how to continue coding in the classroom after holding an Hour of Code. Throughout the webinar, they addressed issues often encountered by schools including why coding should be taught in schools and what students learn through coding, struggles teachers face after completing an Hour of Code, how to fit coding into a typical school day, and resources and funding available for schools to continue to teach coding.
“In the year 2020 we’ll have 1.4 million jobs that will be available in the area of coding and computer science…only .4 million students are actually being prepared for that,” said Bryan, stating a statistic from Code.org. Coding helps students develop the 4 Cs of 21st century learning (communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking/problem solving), helps them with learning to learn, or recognizing that they can learn on their own, and helps develop a mentality of a 21st century world. It is now easier than ever to integrate coding into the classroom with curricula like those on Code.org, and learning tools like Wonder Workshop’s robots Dot and Dash.
In schools that wish to have coding become a regular part of the curriculum, where do educators begin if they are unfamiliar with the subject? The Digital Learning & Leadership PLC, hosted by Common Sense Education and sponsored by Symantec, hosted the webinar, “Now I Have to Teach Coding? A Beginner’s Guide,” on December 8th. James Denby, Curriculum and Course Designer for IdeaDrivenEducation and Eduro Learning, and Common Sense Ambassador; and Robin Ulster, Curriculum and Course Designer for IdeaDrivenEducation and Eduro Learning, presented simple ways to teach coding to beginners using methods and tools that educators can also use when learning coding for the first time.
James and Robin suggested trying unplugged activities that don’t require technology or devices to teach concepts of coding like sequencing, looping, and events. They also recommended tools like Kodable, Blockly Games, Hopscotch, and Scratch. Many of these programs incorporate pseudo code, which is an easier first step before learning a real coding language. These tools are great for not only students, but teachers who are also coding beginners. James and Robin emphasized that making mistakes is all part of the process. “We think it’s a way of building resilience…it’s a way of reinforcing what you are learning,” said James. This is something that was highlighted in both webinars.
This article was modified and published by eSchool News.
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