by Dr. Angela Courtney
Did you know that every year, the second week of December something amazing happens…teachers, kids, adults, millions of people on the planet take up the Hour of Code challenge. First launched in 2013, Hour of Code’s goal is to expose as many people as possible to the wonderful world of Coding. The premise is the same as the old joke “How do you eat a brontosaur. One bite at a time!”
By taking up coding for just one hour a day and exposing our youth to code and removing its black box “magic happens here” mystery, we begin to create a global community that is proficient in basic coding; a noble cause. CNN has reported that as of 2015, the postmillennial generation’s numbers ranges from 61 to 73 million individuals. So, what does this mean to the rest of us? Coding and computers are going to become an increasingly integral part of our lives for generations to come. Technology is already being designed for the next generation and deeply integrated into the classroom. Adoption of technology based learning tools such as the use of games and gaming to teach concepts is becoming more accepted and incorporated into the modern classroom.
A brief history lesson……
The first Apple computer was the Apple 1, known as Ruby, was first released on April 11, 1976. That was 40 years ago!
The first mobile cell phone was in 1973.
That means over 73 million children are relying on a generation to teach them how to code, many of whom were present before personal computers and cell phones were common place. Because of this, coding is a skill that can be intimidating for most over the age of 40 or those who are not computer science majors (of any age). The good news is: you can learn along with the students you are teaching! No need to be a Jedi code master to teach coding. We are going to help show you how.
Here is a quick look at the sites and sources to help you get started with integrating and teaching an Hour of Code to your students. (….and you learn at the same time-bonus!)
Start by checking out https://hourofcode.com/us/learn Here you will find links to over 200 tutorials and lesson plans. No need to re-invent the wheel. Just choose your grade, educator experience, what technology you have available in the classroom (computers, phones, no internet etc.), how long do you want the lesson to be etc. Want a lesson plan-no problem! There are even options for pre-readers! In a few moments you are set with a resource, a lesson plan and a computer curriculum.
So you have taken the dive and now find yourself intrigued with coding and want to learn more or you have advanced students that are not challenged enough with the basics. Check out Free Code Camp. As the name suggests, it is free and can take you or your advanced student from beginner to developer given time, effort. and fun.
Now you have the tools to become a coding inspiration to your classroom and the next generation. And you might find a fun, challenging hobby along the way! Happy coding!