Hour of Code: Are You Ready?

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Professional Learning
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“A computer is a bicycle for your mind.”

Steve Jobs

Code.org (reviewed here) launched the Hour of Code™ during Computer Science Education Week in December 2013. Students and teachers were invited to complete Blockly (reviewed here) tutorials, which use a programming language similar to Scratch (reviewed here). President Obama, Bill Gates, and various celebrities supported the initiative to promote coding, and more than 20 million people participated. That, however, was only the beginning, as the Hour of Code became a grassroots movement that has introduced 100 million students to the basics of computer science.

Participating in the Hour of Code will introduce your students to a world of possibilities. Understanding computers and learning the basics of coding helps children develop an appreciation of how things work. Coding requires problem-solving, creativity, communication, and many other valuable skills that will help students succeed in their future endeavors. Fostering these skills develops confidence and resiliency and supports a growth mindset. Integrating coding into your curriculum develops analytical and problem-solving skills embedded in various disciplines. 

Hour of Code Preparation

  • Promote the Hour of Code to your school, school board, and surrounding community before students participate. Encourage your students to use Microsoft Sway (reviewed here) or Canva (reviewed here) to create promotional items.  
  • Invite community members to share their coding experiences and discuss how coding impacts their career. 
  • Share the promotional videos from Hour of Code on school and classroom communication mediums.

During the Hour of Code

  • Explore Code.org’s Hour of Code activities.
  • Explore unplugged activities for students.
  • Use stations to allow students to experience hands-on coding activities from Code.org. 
  • Take photos of students and create a Wakelet (reviewed here) with pictures and resources for families. 

Beyond the Hour of Code

  • Host a “Tech It Out” evening run by students to allow their families to experience coding and unplugged activities.
  • Set small goals to integrate coding across the curriculum.
  • Present challenges for students to complete throughout the school year.

Preparing your students and community before the event will foster success. Utilize the many resources shared on the Hour of Code website and use the power of one hour to challenge your students. Move beyond the Hour of Code and integrate coding throughout the school year with engaging hands-on, minds-on activities. Share your favorite tips and resources for the Hour of Code in the comments below!

About the author: Kevin Bower

Kevin Bower has 21 years of elementary teaching experience, is a certified reading specialist, and teaches instructional technology to pre-service and practicing teachers. He has presented nationally, had his teaching practices cited in various publications, and published a collaborative article on infusing technology into the balanced literacy classroom. Kevin’s research interests focus on using technology to best meet the needs of students with diverse abilities.

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