What it is: This week is Hour of Code week! From December 9- December 15, Code.org is hosting an event to introduce students everywhere to computer sciences. The event is super flexible, you can plan your hour anywhere it fits in your schedule this week. Code.org has MORE than enough resources, videos, activities to get you going, but these days there are all kinds of great resources to help you bring programming and the Hour of Code into your classroom. The best part is, there is no previous coding experience required, really!
I can’t tell you how rewarding and exciting it is to learn something alongside your students. It is such a neat thing for your students to see you as a learner (without all of the answers) and discover learning together. This is rewarding in ways you may not have experienced before.
How lead your student (school) in the Hour of Code Week: First: sign up for the Hour of Code week at Code.org. This leads you to fantastic tutorials for the learner.
- Check out the tutorials and pick one for your class. Tutorials are available in a variety of languages!
- I like to go through the tutorial once on my own so that I have some background information before diving right in with students.
- Test tutorials on the devices students will use during the Hour of Code (there is nothing worse than planning everything only to learn you don’t have the correct plugin!)
Next decide if your students will be going through the tutorial on their own, in partners, or as a class. This probably depends on what devices you have available for your students. Don’t let a lack of devices keep you from participating! Students can work together on classroom computers (maybe as a center where groups visit the computer together for an hour. A new group can visit the center each day of the week.) If you don’t have reliable classroom computers, or the ability for students to work independently in a one to one setting, think about working as a whole class using an interactive whiteboard or projector-connected computer. If you suffer from low bandwidth (the worst!) you can even opt to download the tutorials so that you are watching them locally.
Have fun learning together! It is okay to say, “I don’t know.” As I said above, it is truly such a cool experience to learn with your students.
Although Code.org is hosting the Hour of Code, you aren’t limited to the resources you find there. Below I’ve listed some of our favorite places to learn about coding at Anastasis Academy:
- Codecademy (this was where Team Anastasis started our first year during Crave classes. I learned right along with them! I can’t tell you the number of times I said, “I don’t know, let’s see if anyone on Twitter can help.” GREAT experience! The kids loved the game nature of learning to code and the immediate gratification of moving to the next level.)
- Codecademy: Hour of Code this is available as an app on the iPhone (can also be downloaded for iPad at the phone resolution)
- Squad is a free collaborative code editor. With Squad, students can access the code they are writing anywhere there is an Internet connection. This means that students can chat and edit files together no matter where they are.
- Tynker– This is one that I wrote about just the other day…cannot wait to use it!
- Romo– This is a robot that helps teaches the basics of programming. I adore this little robot. It is adorable and fairly affordable if you already have an iPhone/iPod that you are willing to let kids use.
- Bootstrap– This is an awesome resource for middle and high school students. It teaches students algebraic and geometric concepts through computer programming. Different from other resources, this one begins with the math in mind and shows students practical application of what they are learning in algebra/geometry as you go. Very cool!
- Scratch– from MIT, this is a great place to start…a long time winner for sure!
- Stencyl- is game creation software with a visual interface that lets students publish their creations for any platform.
- Game Salad– similar to Stencyl, this free download lets students create games visually and publish their creation on multiple platforms.
- Hackety Hack!– with this download kids can learn the basics of Ruby on Rails programming language.
- Code Monster- great beginner interface for kids to learn the basics of programming through a step-by-step online guide.
- Hopscotch– Coding for kids in a visual programming language. Hopscotch is an app for the iPad and FREE!
- Move the Turtle- Another app for the iPad that teaches programming visually. This one is $2.99
- Treehouse- Free app for the iPad that teaches programming and design from 1000 videos, practice modules, etc.
- Cato’s Hike Lite– This is a programming and logic odyessy for kids. This is a great place for kids to learn the basics. The lite version linked here is free, the full version is $4.99
- CProgramming- an iPad guide to programming in C. This app features a conversational style with visual explanations and is probably best for older student. The hosts sing badly, tell cheesy jokes, and include ridiculous pop culture references. All of this adds up to a fun way to learn. $5.99
- Codea– an iPad app that fills in the gaps of your lack of programming knowledge with visual interface. $9.99
- KineScript Lite– visual programming for kids to learn to code and share it with others. A great starting point! Free! Full version is $1.99
- Dynamic Art Lite– Another iPad based graphical programming option for kids. This one lets students create amazing animation and artwork with a drag/drop set of blocks. Free! Full version is $2.99
- Kodable is a free iPad game that offers a kid-friendly introduction to programming concepts and problem solving. (The pro version is on SUPER SALE for the Hour of Code week- 90% off!)
- Java Tutorial: Learn Java quickly with this iPad app from Udemy for older students. Free
- Light-bot Hour of Code- A free iPad app that introduces kids that have absolutely NO experience programming but can immediately use programming logic in this fun game.
- Daisy Dinosaur- a fantastic and free basics of programming app that features an adorable dinosaur named Daisy. The visual interface is great and teaches students the basics of objects, sequencing, loops, and events by solving the app’s challenges. (This is a favorite!)
- Bot Bat– a free iPad app that lets students design their own robot tank to do battle, they use visual programming to tell the bot what to do.
- Codi Animation- an iPad app where students can create animation for their own iOS app. $.99
- Chip Bots- a free iPad app that lets students design and program their own robot using chip-based programming environments.
- Circuit Coder– an iPad game and simulator for building digital circuits $1.99
- Lego Mindstorms Fix the Factory– I don’t know about you, but our youngest students are LEGO crazy. They would be all over this free iPad app that teaches the basics of programming language.
- TouchLogo is an ipad game that introduces programming to young children (even preschoolers could use this one!) $2.
- Last but certainly not least, Code.org. A fantastic site for all things code and lots of goodies just for educators!
Tips: There are lots of videos and printouts for the Hour of Code that you can use to inspire some excitement about this fun day! You will even find links for letters to send home, to your administration, even the government!
What are you doing for your Hour of Code? What fun things do you have planned?