This week for my EDTC300 class I learned a little about coding with Hour of Code activities. It was not something I thought I’d do well, as every time I hear about coding my stress level goes up. And this week was challenging to begin with. Though I realized after an hour of playing with it, that it was more my idea of what coding is, rather than what it really is, that scared me.
I got so nervous from coding I forgot how to problem solve the simple things. Luckily I have the most helpful and amazing classmates, that helped me quickly. Tina and Callen were helpful in how to take screenshots with keyboard shortcuts, which made my writing so much faster.
It was this big and complicated thing in my mind, and even though it sure can be complicated, I can still learn the very basics in a simple way. And even fun- which is why I chose a playful theme. It reminded me of what I learned mostly this EDTC300 semester – I can do many things I never thought I could, if only I take it one, and only one, step at a time, along with an open mindset. Allright- ready for my first coding experience? Let’s go!
I chose Star Wars- and was not disappointed! They even started with the theme scene as in the movies. The first thing I saw later was an inviting video. I chose the “blocks” option to learn with. The game started with a clear instruction and showed how to attach the “blocks” one after the other. It had a fun music, and took me just one step at a time. Just what I needed. The more stages, the more challenges I had and more kinds of instructions and options.
It even had the option to show mw the code if I wanted to:
And it got more elaborated with additional commands, and added some good and bad guys to the scene:
Next, we had a new idea introduced: Events. This is when you attach a code to an action. For example: when we do… we get…
I could also add different speeds, and change the scenery. The more I learned, the more freedom I had with more choices. Yet instead of being overwhelming, it was actually clear and nice.
This was getting pretty interesting! Who knew I’d actually enjoy coding?!
At the end, I got to make my own little game. I played with it for a while, changed it, and than decided to make one where once you take an action, you get one good and one bad guy. The good guy gets you 1000 points (why not?) and the bad guy takes away only 300. Easy! But here is the even easier part – none of it matters, to win you only need to get to one other character! Makes no sense, but was fun exploring! I stopped after a while of changing it (I’m still very slow) but it was overall a positive coding first experience. Here is a link to the very short game I made:
And my certificate!
I learned so much from this coding adventure! I learned:
- We can do things we thought are complicated if we break them to “blocks” and take it one step at a time (even if we know this- always good to be reminded of this lesson!)
- We can use coding in many grade levels – the games on these topics are anything from dance to Star Wars to making up your own!
- This can help younger students understand connections (if we do… than we get…)
- This can help older students to get creative and imaginative
- This can connect to many cross curricular lessons as we create games for science, math, art, etc.
It can be as complicated or a simple as we choose it to be!
Coding is becoming a part of education in younger and younger ages.
Learning about it as teachers is a great way to ensure we pass it forward with curiosity rather then dread. For teachers to be, that do not consider themselves tech- skilled, like myself, it’s even more important to teach these topics with fun and not with stress.
I think that it can have so many benefits, and I am actually excited to explore more for my future classes!
What are your experiences with coding? Have you ever done coding before? Have you seen it used well in the schools?
Would love to hear from you!