Coding is the language of computers, apps, blogs, and all electronics. It is also a fantastic critical thinking skill that can engage students in the classroom. From the Teach your Kids Code Website they highlight 8 reasons why coding is important for kids to learn:
- Programming helps children learn to problem – solve
- Computer programming gives kids a challenge and helps them develop resilience
- Coding teaches children how to think
- A child expands their creativity when they learn how to code
- Computer programming is the future
- There is a lack of skills in the software industry
- Coding helps children learn how to have fun with math
- Coding is learning while having fun
There are a variety of free resources available for educators to access to support their learners to learn coding.
- Hour of Code
- Code Academy
- Sask Code
- Makey Makey
- Saskatchewan Science Center Go! Code
- Coding Worksheets
I have some experience with coding already. I have played with/used Microbits, Spheros, Makey Makeys, and Hour of Code within my classroom.
Here is some of my students work
Since I have some experience coding already, I decided to try coding with Scratch.
Coding With Scratch
Upon first impressions, I was really excited to try Scratch as there was tons of options and easy to use block coding. However, I really missed the step by step progressions that is offered with Hour of Code. The level of inquiry was too broad for my linear mind. I prefer step by step instructions, like a recipe. So, I did a few tutorials and Googled some how – tos to create the animation I envisioned.
Below is my attempt at Scratch coding. I was able to change the costume of the unicorn, add sounds, and make another sprite appear. The sound quality is low from using Screencastify, but trust me when I say there was some epic fairy music.
I think all the tools I have used (Makey Makey, Spheros, Hour of Code, Microbits and now Scratch) are all applicable to use in the classroom. Each tool has a variety of levels and adaptations to accommodate all learners abilities and engagement. Even though I didn’t like the openness of Scratch, as much as the step by step sequence of Hour of Code, I was still invested in finding out how to do it. I think coding is a very valuable skill to teach students and any of the above tools would be a great place to start.