Saturday, December 6, 2014
Computer Science Week - Hour of Code 2014
Computer Science Week, starts on December 8th until December 12th. It is a movement to introduce students to computer programming or coding in grades K-12. The Hour of Code website is a great place to start. It provides videos, tutorials, activities and lessons to help students and teachers to participate in this movement.
The New Jersey Department of Education has announced that more than 600 school districts have signed up and are participating in this event. Unfortunately, computer science is not implemented enough in schools. So, as a former computer programmer, I embrace this opportunity and teach middle school students at the +William Davies Middle School HTML programming using an editor and pure code.
This year, in STEM class, I will be teaching 7th grade students to write an HTML program to create a simple webpage. Some concepts will include proper vocabulary, HTML syntax and commands, required tags, title a webpage, formatting text, insert an image and a hyperlink, a bullet and ordered list. Some other concepts will include, line breaks, comments, and horizontal lines. Sixth grade students will use the Hour of Code website's videos, tutorials and activities to learn coding using a GUI (Graphical User Interface).
In addition, students in LMT class, will be using the Hour of Code website and Scratch, which is a GUI, to create an animated holiday scene or card.
Another website I will introduce to students is Made with Code. This website offers students beginner and intermediate projects using a GUI interface. One of the projects I suggested to all the math teachers at my school was the avatar project. The students use code and interact with an xy coordinate grid to move and size the shapes to create an avatar.
In conclusion, I feel computer programming is an important concept to teach students. I witnessed students use their critical thinking skills and problem solving skills to test and execute their programs. More importantly, they collaborated together to help each other debug their programs. I witnessed timid students take ownership of this lesson and help other students be successful. Student were proud and had an appreciation of how much code needs to be written to change the font color to green.
I will post a follow up after Computer Science Week is over.