Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hour of Code at NCS

Last week was Computer Science Education Week and throughout the world students participated in a Hour of Code - spending 60 minutes or more learning the basics of computer programming.

Right here at Natomas Charter School students in Leading Edge, PFAA, and PACT learned the basics of coding. Through tools like Scratch, Tynker, CodeAcademy, and Khan Academy students built video games and basic programs while also constructing a greater understanding of how some of their favorite websites and apps actually work.  Students learned about sequencing, what-if and if-then statements, functions with parameters, and using counters with these self-paced and engaging resources. Below are two quotes from Leading Edge students in Jennifer Music's class describing the experience.
"The coding really helps with math, because you can figure out how to critique a problem or to help others. It is just a really good way to help kids and adults alike understand things better, in a creative way." (Dillon Garrett, 7th grade) 
"Within the time of playing with "An Hour of Code" I feel that it was a nice game output and it taught us the mechanics of movement within a game. What I loved the most was learning about the "if" function. I was able to see the actual java-script code too." (Jason Abuda, 8th grade)
While the goal was to spend 60 minutes coding last week, for many the hour was simply an introduction that ignited their curiosity to learn more.  At last night's first NCS Student Technology Leadership Team meeting many of the students described spending many evenings and part of last weekend building their coding skills.

Personally, I have to admit I was too busy last week to participate in an Hour of Code. I put it in my "next time around"pile. However, the excitement and enthusiasm these kids shared caused me to pull out my laptop last night and create the code necessary to navigate my Angry Bird around the squares to capture the pig on Code.org. And that might be the best part of all of these resources. They aren't going away anytime soon. You and your students can start building your programming literacy skills today, tomorrow, or sometime next month.

After writing this post we learned a few things:

  • PACT hosted a code-a-thon on Friday and many of our students were so inspired that they started working their way through the 20 hour self-paced Introduction to Computer Science course for K-8 students. 
  • Star Academy 2nd graders started coding today. Yes, you read that correctly...2nd graders. Aside from an occasional cheer you could hear a pin drop in the classroom as they worked through 15 different levels of the first 20 step coding task.

Joe & Jennifer Music

1 comment:

  1. Several PACT students are taking on the Beyond the Hour of Code for the 20 hour project- in hopes of big prizes! They had a great time in our Code-A-Thon on Friday and nearly all of our tech classes also completed an hour of code, even our littlest kids!

    Best part of all is it's not about the code- it's about critical thinking, logic, following directions and problem solving!