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Tagged With: programming

Why Should Students Learn Computer Science? A Teacher’s Perspective

If you participated in December’s Hour of Code, you may have come to realize the importance of Computer Science to students.  Greg Beutler is the Director of Techscool.org, a school devoted to teaching kids this fundamental skill through the lens of robotics, coding, competitions, and more. The school’s tagline is Learn to code; Code to learn. Pretty pithy.

Here’s Greg’s informed perspective on this question:

Beyond job opportunities, why should all K-12 students learn about computer science?

tech educationComputer Science is an important subject for all students because it teaches you how to think. The act of writing a computer program requires you to think about how to create sequences which are step by step procedures on how to solve a given problem.  CS also teaches the student, what sequences are run, what sequences should run if that sequence fails. CS teaches the student how to present that failure or success of that operation to the user via a GUI, and how the GUI should look and what the next outcome should be of the interactions between the user, the software and the computing device. Computer Science is an integrative subject, not siloed like other subjects taught at school.

Starting children early is best. To illustrate this I’ll use my favorite analogy, which is the baseball analogy. Both the little leaguer and a major leaguer perform the same operations, they catch a ball, throw a ball and hit a ball. But the major leaguer is much more talented and skilled. They have done all of those actions thousands of times in practice and games. They have honed their skill to a very great extent with competition and practice. They have a keen understanding of the game, the rules, and the winning strategies. They know where to hit the ball against a particular team in a particular situation. They know where to throw the ball in a particular situation. They can anticipate the actions of their teammates and opponents and react accordingly. Starting children early
gives them a wide arena of problems and problem-solving skills. The same applies to computer science. At a young age we can solve simple problems such as sorting different colored beads into different cups, then when we are older we can solve more complex problems such as writing a program using sorting algorithms for all sorts of items; including colored beads., which is called abstraction.

Here are the top five skills that most successful computer science students possess.

(more…)

Categories: High School, Spotlight | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Websites and Apps to Support Hour of Code

We’ve provided a lot of projects and lesson plans, as well as websites you’ll like organized by grade. Here are all those that don’t easily differentiate by grade. See if some of them work for you:

Websites

  1. Animatron–design and publish animated and interactive content that plays everywhere, from desktop computers to mobile devices.
  2. BrainPop coding games
  3. Build a website–a guide
  4. Chrome Experiments–geeky experimentation with programming
  5. I like programming video
  6. Kodu—game programming
  7. Learn to code
  8. Minecraft coding mod
  9. Pivot Stickfigure Animator–free, download, powerful, with a cult following
  10. Robby Leonardi–programmer–a game played about programming in the style of Mario
  11. Roboblockly–to teach coding and math, from UCDavis
  12. Stencyl–build games without coding with downloaded software
  13. Stickman–draw a stick figure and the site animates it
  14. Symbaloo collection for coding
  15. TED Talk on young programmers

Apps

  1. BeeBop–based on the Beebop floor robot–free
  2. Cargo-Bot—logic iPad gamecoding
  3. Cato’s Hike (K+)
  4. Codea (Perfect for Intermediate+)
  5. Daisy the Dinosaur—intro to programming
  6. Hopscotch (for up to intermediate–more complicated that Kodable)
  7. Kodable
  8. Lego Fix the Factory (app)
  9. LightBot Jr.–programming for six-year olds
  10. Lightbot–solving puzzles with programming; MS
  11. Move the Turtle–programming via iPad for middle school
  12. Osmo Coding--a purchased game system to teach coding
  13. Pyonkee–free, a little glitchy
  14. ScratchJr--for ages 5-7
  15. Swift Playground–from Apple, includes lessons and challenges designed to teach kids to code

Build an app/game

  1. Apps Geyser
  2. App Inventor–build Android apps on a smartphones; from MIT
  3. Game Salad

Code Curriculum

  1. C-STEM Studio–download to teach computers, science, technology, engineering and math with robotics
  2. Everyone Can Code–from Apple
  3. Google Computer Science for High School–free workshops (with application) for K-12 teachers

More

Lesson plan bundle for Hour of Code

10 Unusual Projects to Energize Hour of CodeHour of Code: Scratch Jr.

Hour of Code 101

Hour of Code Lesson Plans by Grade

Augmented Reality with Metaverse


Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today and TeachHUB, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.

Categories: Problem solving | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Hour of Code Lesson Plans by Grade

hour of codeThis December will again host the Hour of Code, a one-hour introduction to programming designed to demystify the subject and show that anyone can be a maker, a creator, and an innovator. Last year, almost 300,000 students (age 4-104) participated from over 180 countries and wrote almost 20 billion lines of code. The 200,000+ teachers involved came away believing that, of all their education tools, coding was the best at teaching children to think. It’s easy to see why when you look at fundamental programming concepts:

  • abstraction and symbolism – variables are common in math, but also in education. Tools, toolbars, icons, images all represent something bigger
  • creativity – think outside the box
  • if-then thinking – actions have consequences
  • debugging – write-edit-rewrite; try, fail, try again. When you make a mistake, don’t give up or call an expert. Fix it.
  • logic – go through a problem from A to Z
  • sequencing – know what happens when

If you’re planning to participate in Hour of Code, here are activities by grade that will kickstart your effort. They can be done individually or in small groups.

(more…)

Categories: 1st, 2nd, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, Critical thinking, High School, Lesson plans, Problem solving | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Hour of Code 101

December 3-9th, 2018, Computer Science Education will host the Hour Of Code–a one-hour introduction to students on coding, programming, and why they should love it, designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, and an innovator. Throughout participating websites, you’ll find a variety of self-guided tutorials that say “anybody can do, on a browser, tablet, or smartphone”. You’ll even find unplugged tutorials for classrooms without computers. No experience needed.

Coding–that mystical geeky subject that confounds students and teachers alike. Confess, when you think of coding, you see:

coding

 

…when you should see

coding

It feels like:

When it should feel like:

Computer Science Education will host the Hour Of Code–a one-hour introduction to coding, programming, and why students should love it. It’s designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, and an innovator. If you’re not sold 100% on the importance of computer science in a student’s future, watch this video:

(more…)

Categories: Critical thinking, Problem solving | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Websites for Hour of Code by Grade

hour of codeThis December will again host the Hour of Code, a one-hour introduction to programming designed to demystify the subject and show that anyone can be a maker, a creator, and an innovator. Last year, almost 300,000 students (age 4-104) participated from over 180 countries and wrote almost 20 billion lines of code. The 200,000+ teachers involved came away believing that, of all their education tools, coding was the best at teaching children to think. It’s easy to see why when you look at fundamental programming concepts:

  • abstraction and symbolism – variables are common in math, but also in education. Tools, toolbars, icons, images all represent something bigger
  • creativity – think outside the box
  • if-then thinking – actions have consequences
  • debugging – write-edit-rewrite; try, fail, try again. When you make a mistake, don’t give up or call an expert. Look at what happened and fix where it went wrong.
  • logic – go through a problem from A to Z
  • sequencing – know what happens when

If you’re planning to participate in Hour of Code, here are a series of activities — broken down by grade — that will kickstart your effort. They can be done individually or in small groups.

(more…)

Categories: Critical thinking, Problem solving | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Hour of Code 101

Coding–that mystical geeky subject that confounds students and teachers alike. Confess, when you think of coding, you see:

coding

 

…when you should see

coding

It feels like:

When it should feel like:

December 4-10, Computer Science Education will host the Hour Of Code–a one-hour introduction to coding, programming, and why students should love it. It’s designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, and an innovator.

(more…)

Categories: Critical thinking, Problem solving | Tags: , , | 5 Comments

Coding and US Security

If you’re a history teacher, here’s a great tie-in between history and Hour of Code:

977177navajo1

During WWI, the Choctaw language had been used to transmit U.S. military messages. With this thought in mind, Philip Johnston, the son of a missionary grew up on a Navajo reservation and spoke the Diné tongue fluently, brought the suggestion of a similar code to General Clayton Vogel early in 1942. The Diné language has no alphabet, uses no symbols and one sound may hold an entire concept. The idea was tested and proved to be faster and more reliable than the mechanized methods. The language has more verbs than nouns, that helps to move the sentences along and makes it far more difficult for outsiders to learn – making it the most ingenious and successful code in military history.

platoon

The 382nd Platoon, USMC

The original class, the 382d Platoon, Navajo Communication Specialists, USMC, developed their code at Camp Pendleton. Once a unit of code talkers were trained, they were put on Marine rosters around the Pacific Theater. Even under severe combat conditions, they remained the living codes, since nothing was ever written down. During the first 48 hours of Iwo Jima, 800 transmissions were coded. These few men became warriors in their own right during some of the worst battles of the war.

Choctaw Code Talkers

Choctaw Code Talkers

Some examples of the English word/ Navajo sound/ literal translation:

Alaska………. Beh-hga……….. with winter
America……….Ne-he-mah……… our mother
Britain……….Toh-ta………… between waters
Australia……..Cha-yes-desi…….rolled hat
China…………Ceh-yehs-besi……braided hair
France………..Da-gha-hi……….beard

Navajo code talkers

The existence of the code talkers and their accomplishments would remain top secret according to the U.S. government and use their expertise in the Korean War. Unfortunately, this resulted in many of the men not receiving the recognition they deserved. I was very lucky to have grown up knowing their story thanks to Smitty, my father.

President Ronald Reagan designated 14 August as National Code Talkers Day in 1982.

Categories: History | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Hour of Code is Coming!

December 4-10, 2017, Computer Science Education will host the Hour Of Code–a one-hour introduction to students on coding, programming, and why they should love it, designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, and an innovator. Throughout participating websites, you’ll find a variety of self-guided tutorials that say “anybody can do, on a browser, tablet, or smartphone”. You’ll even find unplugged tutorials for classrooms without computers. No experience needed.

Here’s a video to kick things off–you can’t watch this and not get motivated:

(more…)

Categories: Critical thinking, Problem solving | Tags: , , | 7 Comments

Hour of Code Website and App Suggestions for K-8

Here are ideas of apps and websites that teachers in my PLN used successfully in the past during Hour of Code:

hour of codeKindergarten

Start kindergartners with problem solving. If they love Legos, they’ll love coding

  1. BotLogic–great for Kindergarten and youngers
  2. Code–learn to code, for students
  3. How to train your robot–a lesson plan from Dr. Techniko
  4. Kodable--great for youngers–learn to code before you can read
  5. hour of codePrimo–a wooden game, for ages 4-7
  6. Program a human robot (unplugged)
  7. Scratch Jr.

1st Grade

  1. Code–learn to code, for students
  2. Espresso Coding–for youngers
  3. Foos–app or desktop; K-1
  4. Hopscotch–programming on the iPad
  5. Primo–a wooden game, for ages 4-7
  6. Scratch Jr.
  7. Tynker

(more…)

Categories: Critical thinking, Problem solving | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Hour of Code–What is it?

Coding–that mystical geeky subject that confounds students and teachers alike. Confess, when you think of coding, you see:

coding

 

…when you should see

coding

December 5-11, Computer Science Education will host the Hour Of Code–a one-hour introduction to coding, programming, and why students should love it. It’s designed to demystify “code” and show that anyone can learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, and an innovator.

(more…)

Categories: Critical thinking, Problem solving | Tags: , , | 6 Comments