Code.org’s annual Hour of Code happens during CS Education Week is December 8 – 14, 2014. During this one week, we hope every student and teacher chooses to spend one Hour of Code in their classroom. I wanted to share some ideas and encouragement to help you get prepared.
Anyone Can Learn, Anyone Can Teach
Code.org has helped change the conversation about coding education worldwide with the simple slogan “Anyone Can Learn.” At Trinket we agree, and want to add “Anyone Can Teach!”. Just like the core skills needed for coding are critical thinking and creativity, which everyone has, the core skills needed to teach code are the same needed to teach anything: patience, empathy, and listening.
Take a moment and read through some of this code, then click the Run button. It’s OK to not understand everything at first – that’s normal! Code is a language, and like any language you don’t need to be fluent to get started.
Helpful comments like the ones in the example above are from programmer to programmer. They function a little like a Rosetta stone: they translate the code from a programming language into a human language, helping learners translate what’s happening in their heads.
Teach With Code
Students will be much more engaged with your Hour of Code if you can relate it back to the subject you’re covering in class. This is what we mean when we say Teach With Code. Code is a tool for you and your students to express ideas. Showing them how it can relate to ideas that are familiar to them will help it sink in.
The biggest predictor of success in learning to code is persistence. Different students will have different barriers to overcome when they run into errors or something they don’t understand. Just like teaching anything, explicitly mentioning how to identify and overcome these feelings can help your students move forward, especially those students who have cultural or self-image barriers keeping them from believing they can be successful with code.
We’ve heard from teachers that bringing code into the classroom can be incredibly rewarding- especially as students learn new things and begin to teach each other. Give students space to show off their work. This will help them teach you and their peers what they’ve learned and make code a real part of your classroom culture.
Most of all, have fun and enjoy opening up these new possibilities with your students!