Hello everyone and welcome to my latest blog post! New here? Make sure to look through some of my previous posts after this one!
This week I drove into coding…I know I wasn’t super excited about it either. The only thing I knew about coding was that it was very, very, very hard. But I also knew that its popularity was becoming more prominent- lately, I have been seeing coding “schools” popping up around my city. So I guess you could say that I wasn’t excited to try it but I was interested in finding out what the hype was around it.
For my first coding experience, I wanted to use a beginners program with LOTS of instruction. I headed over to Code.org to see what I could get myself into. This search didn’t get me far and I ended up with a blank workspace and a cartoon cow. I tried to make the cow jump up and down but the cow thought otherwise and just stood still. No matter what I did, the cow would not do ANYTHING. I was obviously doing something wrong but I just convinced myself that the program wasn’t working (heavy denial that I wasn’t good at this) and moved onto finding something else. I ended up lowering the bar big time and made this completely useless rainbow house. Though useless, I was able to look past it and told myself that I was a computer engineer.
Moving on from this tiny home, I was ready to move onto bigger and better things. This was amateur stuff and as the well-qualified computer engineer I was (am), I was ready to solve world hunger and conflict. BRING. IT. ON.
At last, something that was the caliber of my talents. “The changes in their world could not be ignored. The villagers could no longer seem to grow enough crops, and the Illagers found their fish supply dwindling. Neither town knew of any other way to survive and yet they were both too afraid to turn to their neighbour for help. Perhaps with your help, they can learn to value their differences and find a new way forward together…” okay Minecraft now we are talking.
I had a big task on my hands so I got to work and let me tell you an “hour of code” quickly turned into “three hours of code”. Within these 3 hours, I learned so much! It was so interesting learning how to communicate with a computer other than my specialty “hey Siri”. After I completed the tasks and brought the Villagers and Illigers together, at last, my time with Minecraft Educational Edition was finished.
After I was finished, I looked around at the program a little bit more. And people, I hit THE MOTHER LOAD. So this whole time, I was playing in student mode because I am a student… but then I put my big girl pants on and switched to teacher mode. LISTEN UP there were lesson plans, answer keys, tips, and tricks, conversation starters, key points…and the list goes on! Please take a look at this educators guide! I just couldnt believe the detail and resources it provided!
I quickly realized this this program was so much more than coding. Here is a screenshot of the lesson objectives. We are covering super important, real life lessons here! I was in awe. Click here to try the program yourself!
A few weeks ago I shared a post about incorporating Minecraft in the classroom but this really goes above and beyond what I had thought it was capable of.
So you might be wondering…where do I stand with coding after doing this program? Well, the answer is complicated. I cant say that I will reach for it when i’m bored and looking for something to do BUT I can say that it will definitely have a place in my classroom. The bigger picture of coding is so important in contemporary times, computers are all around us and I believe it is important that we know how to communicate with them. It is just an added bonus that we are able to cover societal issues such as bias and bring awareness to the importance of diversity, inclusion and community- and thats where I am on board.
Thanks for making it this far! Have you tried coding? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
I’ve been checking out a few blog posts before I start my “hour of code” because like you mentioned at the start of your post, I’m not really excited about it either… BUT after reading through some posts, I’ve realized that you can make some pretty cool things by coding (like your Minecraft project you took on) and I’m inspired to FINALLY try it out for myself! Thanks for also sharing the “teacher side” of code.org, I’ll be definitely looking into that!