This post is going to be “geekier” than some of you would like, but my goal is to raise your awareness. This is a topic that takes me out of my comfort zone, but the more I learn, the more I realize how important this is for our students.
This week is Computer Science Education Week. To mark the event, students and teachers around the world have been challenged to participate in an “Hour of Code”…to spend just an hour learning some very basic principles about how computers are programmed. Code.org has gathered an array of engaging and EASY activities for students of all ages (including us really old students!). I encourage you to check them out when you have a few minutes….or maybe more than a few minutes. I’ll admit that I really got sucked into a couple of these…and I don’t even like video games! Click on the pictures to go to each activity.
Lightbot is another one that grabbed my attention. You learn some basics of coding while trying to get the robot to light up all the blue tiles.
There are even “coding” activities that don’t require a computer!
Even if you don’t try your own hand at coding, I encourage you to watch this one-minute video.
Our kids are surrounded by computers all day long. Many of them love to play games on their devices. But do they have any idea where those games come from or even that PEOPLE created them? Activities such as those above will introduce our students to the world of computer programming in a way that might open future pathways they didn’t even know existed. If nothing else, knowing just a little bit about coding will help them see that all the things they do with computers and tablets and smartphones are not magic. All the games and apps and websites they love were created by real live human beings who learned to code. It took hard work, and persistence, and a lot of problem solving…but those are skills that anyone can develop. That’s the real magic.
I hope some of you will give these activities a try yourself and maybe with your students and then add a comment below to share your experience. I’d love to know your thoughts!