(Weekly) Hour of Code
There is a large worldwide initiative from the Computer Science Education Week at the moment to get all ages to experience computer programming; known as Hour of Code, numerous institutions are providing tools, workshops and training to help everyone gain some insight into what is needed to control systems and produce games and other useful software.
We have been teaching coding in dedicated sessions for about eight years now, and the skills of the children have always been superb as a result. We have used:
- control programming using motors, lights and buzzers with our CoCo control box and virtual systems
- visual block programming with the Lego Mindstorms robots
- visual block coding with Scratch
and in class 3 we are about to start programming in a new environment developed by M.I.T. to produce mobile apps for Android tablets/phones as part of a year-long project in computing.
As interest was high, I have been running coding club since the start of the academic year to a very eager group of programmers. I spent last half-term giving them mini-tasks on code fragments needed to accomplish tasks needed for commonly-featured game elements (scoring, resetting, direction control, event handling, etc) and have since given them an open project to produce their own game. Although I am on standby as a debugger and problem solver, I have been amazed at how little help they have asked for! Their work is coming along really well and demonstrate how much progress they have made in such a short space of time.
If you want an Hour of Code yourself, there are plenty of experts here to guide you 🙂