Saturday, October 31, 2015

Coding is For Everyone


Last year our makerspace started with a coding section. It all started with participating in the Hour of Code. Fifth grade students came into the library and spent an hour working on the self paced lessons offered on www.code.org Most students chose to complete the puzzles with Elsa and Angry Birds. Once students completed all 20 puzzles, they got a certificate stating they had finished an Hour of Code. Once the makerspace sessions started students where able to take their coding skills to the next level by using Scratch. The most creative project I saw last year was created by a student using Scratch and Raspberrypi. He created a video game based on his favorite television show, Dr. Who using Scratch, and he could operate it through Raspberrypi. Coding is not always easy; I saw students try and fail a lot as they were learning to code.

The Hour of code is a nationwide movement December 7th - 13th to encourage everyone ages 4 -104 to try coding. This year is different. I don't want students just playing as they hopefully learn to code. I want to make sure they are learning about coding.  To do this I realize I will need a lot more volunteers and well planned self-guided learning experiences for students. Lowering the adult: student ratio as they go through their self-directed instruction on coding, will give students more support as they learn. The web-site offers new self-paced tutorials for students each year. Code.org offers support to continue coding instruction and opportunities beyond the Hour of Code week. Participants who sign up for Hour of Code have an opportunity to win $10,000.00 in technology for their school. 

Currently at Ed White Makerspace, students can select coding as a topic to explore for 5 weeks and learn about as they complete self guided task cards or projects. They can learn more coding techniques on Raspberrypi computers using Scratch task cards or Minecraftpi task cards. This year we are focusing on creating and programming robots in our makerspace this year. Students have the option to build a Vex Robot and code it, or code the Sphero or Ollie robots. These robots require an i-touch 6 to use the coding APPS Tickle or Sprk. To find out more information on teaching coding to students, read this Edublogs article. 

Books to Check-out 
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