Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Use the Hour of Code to Teach Important Skills to ALL Students

Why should ALL teachers participate in the hour of code with their students?  You may be thinking, "I don't teach computer science, and I don't want to give up an hour of my valuable class time". 

While you may not be teaching a computer science course, coding teaches students problem solving skills, critical thinking, collaboration, and perseverance.  These are all skills that any teacher, in any subject area, would love for their students to have and practice.  And, coding is used to help people in all job fields, so it is a great way to share with your students applications in the work force to your subject area.

Getting started in coding is actually easy, and as a teacher, you do not need to know how to code yourself!  But honestly, it's a lot of fun.  Here's a Star Wars game I created after completing a Hour of Code tutorial.  (Stay away from the Storm Troopers, and try to get the Tauntuans.)

How do you participate in the Hour of Code?

The Hour of Code takes place during Computer Science Education Week, December 7-13.  All you need is an hour (or 50 minutes if that is all you have).  You don't even need devices, but it is a little more fun if you do.  

  1. Go to the Code.org tutorial page and choose a tutorial for your class (or let your students choose their own).  I recommend the Star Wars one.  It has a Java version which is geared for older students, and students can create their own game at the end.  Also, students can complete these tutorials using a computer, chromebook, or even on their phones using an internet browser.
  2. It helps if you go through the tutorial yourself ahead of time.  But honestly, you don't need to.  The students will be fine doing it without you having to be an expert.
  3. Have the students create an account, and work on the tutorial.  You will be amazed watching your students create, think critically, and fail and try again.
  4. If you don't have devices, go to code.org/learn and scroll down to "unplugged computer science".

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