Turn the “Hour of Code” into the “Year of Learning”
It’s great that so many students and teachers I know, and many whom I do not know (but am aware of via Twitter) are checking out code.org or other hour of code sites next week. There are so many great resources that always result in a fantastically exciting hour for students.
Coding has become the current term of choice to describe computer programming and/or computational thinking in education. My hope and suggestion is to let your hour of code experience represent the lighting of a flame that continues to burn for the entire year. Allow more (and regular) time for students to continue to explore coding. Design learning projects and activities that help them use coding to explore concepts and express ideas.
Coding is a highly effective method by which students can organize complex ideas and processes into visible, movable, discussable, shareable chunks of thought on a screen. In so doing, problems can be solved, games can be designed, concepts can be explored, art can be created, stories can be told, movements can be modeled, and most of all, excitement about an idea that is born in a child’s mind can be immediately acted upon and put into action in their project.
Learning to code might be a cool goal but learning through coding is an incredibly powerful learning pathway which has been around for decades and has been, and continues to be, tried, tested, and proven effective.
I’ve started in a small way to contribute some examples of ways in which learning through coding can take place. I curate a Scratch Studio called Mathland Challenges and currently have 14 example projects with embedded challenges with direct connections to Ontario curricula: