I reluctantly admit that I don’t know anything about coding – but I want to learn about coding for three reasons. First, coding, even on a simple level, lets technology users be creators of applications, which directs computers to follow our directions. What an empowering feeling! Second, my son is a computer science major, and learning about coding, in a small way will help me stay connected with him. And third, I like technology and learning new ways to teach and learn with technology that I can share with the future teachers I work with each semester.
Recently I attended a workshop presentation about coding, the nonprofit organization Code.org, and the Hour of Code. The presenter, K-5 technology teacher, Jessica Asbury, spent several years in the classroom before taking on the role of tech leader at Piper Elementary, Kansas City, Kansas. Jessica also serves as a facilitator for Code.org. Her enthusiasm for teaching and learning with technology, and especially for teaching coding, is contagious. I would like to pass along the free, helpful resources Jessica shared in hopes these will set you along the path of learning about coding.
Hour of Code – Code.org organizes the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week in December with the purpose of promoting computer science among all students and expanding participation by women and under-represented students of color. Schools and other organizations can participate by organizing a coding activity and registering with Code.org. Tutorials are available on the website for those who would like to get started hosting an event. According to the website over 100 million students have participated in 180+ countries at 198,474 Hour of Code events since it began in 2013.
Free Workshops – Jessica, along with other coding instructors across the country, offer free coding workshops to teachers. Educator participants receive a kit with materials for classroom use to teach lessons that develop logical thinking and problem solving skills necessary for thinking like a computer scientist.
Online, Self-Paced Courses – For teachers and students ages 4-10+, each of the four courses available on the Code.org website provides 20 lessons that teach foundational skills needed for thinking creatively and collaboratively working through issues, while also learning simple coding techniques.
I challenge you to join me in learning about coding for students of all ages. Whether you attend a free workshop, participate in the Hour of Code during the week of December 5-9, 2016, or explore the online coding curriculum, I think you will be surprised at how easy it is to learn simple coding and how important it is for our students to learn these skills.