Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Continuing the Hour of Code

This past week was Computer Science Education Week and during the week a great campaign was held to introduce students of all ages to the field of computer science and programming, the Hour of Code!

The Hour of Code offered schools an assortment of videos, tips, and other resources to promote computer science to their students. And students were able to participate in the Hour of Code by exploring a wide variety of activities, tutorials, games, and programs that teach the concepts of coding and programming.

I immediately fell in the love with this campaign! As a technology coordinator and computer lab teacher, I strive to help my students understand the importance of technology in our daily lives. Its not just a tool to help us with our homework or a device that our teacher wants us to use for a project. Technology will always be present in our lives, and as Vanessa Hurst, co-founder of "Girl Develop It" state in the Hour of Code videos,

"It's absolutely crucial to know how to code and to understand how technology is built, even if you don't choose to make a living or be a full time software developer. It's really important to know how it works so that you're not a victim of other people's choices." 

Just like how its important that we as citizens understand and are aware of how our government works and who is making the decisions for us, the same is true for the technology that we allow to be a huge part of our lives.

At my school, I gave the faculty and staff a brief 15 minute presentation on the Hour of Code and the importance of this campaign. I created this Google Presentation for them to view and share during the week. Feel free to use and share for your own purpose.

I pointed the teachers in the right direction and gave them a variety of resources that they can use in their class for the Hour of Code. I made sure that age appropriate iPad apps were installed on our mobile iPad carts. I also provided extra blocks of time for classes to visit the computer lab during the week. I had plenty of 4th and 5th grade classes visiting the lab and it was exciting to see the students so engaged and eager to give the tutorials and activities a try! I even had a few middle school volunteers coding on the iPads! Many of them asked how they can continue to code at home. The great thing about the Hour of Code is that everything is FREE and available online!

I think the heart of this campaign, however, is to continue the movement. Seize hold of the student engagement and interest and extend it beyond just the week. Here are just a few ways to extend the Hour of Code:
  • Advocate for a programming class at your school
  • Integrate programming into your STEM lessons
The activities provided by Code.org will remain available permanently and there are even ways to go beyond the Hour of Code.

I've created a Pinterest board called Coding for Kids that include all types of resources to help you and your students continue to explore the field of computer science and programming!

If you want to learn more about "Continuing the Hour of Code" check out Episode 10 of #EdTech Mixed Plate.

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