Coding – Why are we still debating it?

I went to a conference a few months ago, and the presenter made an interesting point: In many classrooms, the haiku is still taught, but we don’t have debates on whether or not to teach it. However, while students will interact with some technology daily, we still debate whether or not it is essential to teach them how to use it and how to understand that.

Stop debating it. Today, computer science is necessary to understanding the world around us. Currently, I’m interested in “filter bubbles” as they relate to fake news and digital citizenship. These are entirely controlled by algorithms – a.k.a. computer science. To understand our lives, computer science is essential.

Hopefully, I’ve won you over with my debate, and now, you’re ready to start learning or teaching it. If that’s the case, check out the Fennovation Coding Bookmarks to get started.  You can also check out Fennovation.org for more STEAM resources.  Today’s addition to teaching and learning resources include: Microsoft YouthSpark, CodinGame, CSS Diner, Untrusted, Flexbox Froggy & Flexbox Defnse, Ruby Warrior, and many, many more.

Enjoy!

Computational Thinking

Today, I worked more on computational thinking as it pertains to K-12 classroom. Specifically, I started with HS English, and, then, I worked down to 1st grade. Excitement abounds!

Making strides

Today, as part of my WordPress class, we had to create custom fields and custom page types on our own; the goal being for clients to be able to just use the admin panel to enter in content rather than having to enter the php/html files. It was a challenge, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made. I won’t say how many hours I spent on this, but…I think they were worth it!

JS Bugger

Today, I completed week 2 of my interactivity with JavaScript class and, man, was it a bugger?! I reached the point of phoning my boyfriend, a developer for help, and, just as he was ready to respond with the important clues, I had a Eureka moment! At least…I thought I did. In writing this, I realize I missed one step.  Nevertheless, I’m thankful for my short-lived Eureka moment.

Disappointment

Today, I hosted a panel of area developers for our school’s celebration of the hour of code. Unfortunately, no one showed up – no students, staff, or parents. It was a large disappointment in my efforts to bring new forms of education to the school. While I am still disappointed, I am determined to continuing trying. That’s the nature of education, right?

Getting ready for Hour of Code!

Are you getting ready for the Hour of Code next week? If not, read below for some great resources to get you started! If you’re already prepared, check out some of the activities for making computer science a year-round commitment.

Check out Fennovation.org for all things STEAM and CS!

Course 1 done

This year, I decided to return to school for some extra certifications. Currently, I’m working to code and design websites. Though I learned HTML 4 years ago and coded many Websites then, learning HTML 5, CSS3 and JS has a new ring to it. Today, I finished my first mock-up of a Website — the first of many as I work to design and code for a growing and more uniform Web. Now, I don’t just know the language, I understand the significance of the language.

Hour of Code is coming up – what are you doing?

It’s hard to believe the Hour of Code is returning in less than two months. That means, it’s time to start planning!

This year, I doubled up on our computer science programming by offering two coding clubs after school. Due to scheduling, we did not have room during the school day for this programming. So, we added these clubs after school. As a result, some students had to make choices among their extracurricular activities. As an athlete myself, I know I would never have wanted to have to make that choice nor should I have had to.

We tried to make it as accommodating as possible. In our <body> builders club, we offer flexibility for the “over-committed” folks. Our second option, Hello World, is taught by a group of area developers at cost. It functions like a course and offers two unique events – a city-wide hackathon and student panel.

Going forward, we hope to incorporate some of the coding programming into our regular curriculum. As it stands, we offer Computer Science Level 1 and Advanced Computer Science to mainly 10-12 grade students. We offer an information literacy course to all 6th grade students, but there is no formal programming between 6th grade and 10th grade – the critical years.

So, as I plan for the Hour of Code, I think back to our dilemmas and the dilemmas of many schools. After school programs are a great start, but they should not be where it ends. We need to move beyond the Hour of Code and bring in the programming into our curriculum. While I am not always for mandatory computer science, I do believe it should be offered to all students with easy access. I don’t believe students should have to choose between it and another passion just as they do not have to choose between their other main courses.

With that in mind, this year, I have planned a full week of activities for our Hour of Code. We will kick off the week with a parent coding event, followed by a panel of area developers discussing the rules of the trade. On Wednesday, we will have a teacher coding lunch. And, on Thursday, we will have a family coding night, complete with over 15 booths! We will wrap it up on Friday with a challenge for all to complete at least one hour of code. Through this immersive approach, I hope to increase demand for these course and push the courses into the curriculum.

Check out or Hour of Code Website for more information or ideas. And, check out fennovation.org for a complete listing of coding help.

I challenge you to learn another computer language. In the past month, I have learned two (HTML5 and CSS3) and I am starting on my third (JavaScript). Do it!