Kids Can Code!

HTML Code

HTML Code by Marjan Krebelj under CC License 2.0

Code.org is hosting the Hour of Code throughout the week of December 9th-15th, 2013. The creators of the website Code.org believe (rightfully so) that anyone can learn code. The most successful people in life will be those who are able to code and who understand the principles behind coding. Everything electronic is run by code, not magic! And by learning to code, students also learn to think critically, to solve problems, and to be creative.

In order to expand participation of Computer Science in schools, Code.org is promoting one hour— 60 minutes— of time for students to learn to code. On the code.org website, there are a number of coding activities for students to try using blockly, JavaScript, and Scratch. There is even an opportunity to try coding to create apps!

Apps for Coding

Speaking of apps, there are two apps to help students gain coding skills on the iPad.

  • Daisy the Dinosaur, which is perfect for Kindergarten through second grade as an introduction to coding, and
  • Hopscotch, which is a little more advanced.

Daisy the Dinosaur allows students to choose one of two modes: Challenge or Free Play. Challenge mode provides guidance for students and teaches them how to navigate and make Daisy do things; Free Play is just that— students program Daisy without direction from the app.

Hopscotch looks a little more like Scratch and other programming languages I’ve seen for kids. The toolbox with the commands is on the left and the students drag commands into the workspace on the right. Pressing the play button animates the character or characters the student has selected to use. One of the great things about programming this way is that if the program doesn’t work, students can tinker with the numbers to refine their program.

Common Core Connection

The Common Core State Standards do not include coding as a standard. However, the standards are in place so that students can leave schools College and Career Ready. Students need to be able to solve non-routine problems and think critically, and these skills are reinforced using these types of apps to practice coding. Coding apps and websites also promote Creativity and Innovation by allowing students to play with scripts and see what happens.

I’ve heard many stories recently about students who get high-paying jobs straight out of high school because they have the skills necessary to be successful in jobs that require writing code. Daisy the Dinosaur and Hopscotch can help young students begin to build the skills they will need to be College and Career Ready.

Let’s Hear from You!

What apps have you used to explore coding with your students?

 

Leave a Reply