Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Reflection of the Hour of Code, Computer Science Week!

Computer Science Week, 12/8 - 12/12, was amazing! I was able to embrace a subject that I love and share it with students at the +William Davies Middle School in Mrs. Green's STEM classes.  

At the beginning of the week, students did not know the purpose of a computer program and how much Computer Science effects their everyday life. They transformed from having little or no knowledge of it into curious, confident, and enthusiastic programmers.   They were motivated to complete their program, whether is was the GUI (Graphical User Interface) activities from, or writing pure code using HTML. 

They demonstrated student growth which was displayed on a 4 point scale of the Learning Goal rubric. Most of the students went from a 1 (No Idea) to at least a 3 (Knowledgeable) on the rubric. The rubric is shown below.

I introduced proper vocabulary terms to them such as:  GUI, commands, tags, test, debug, troubleshoot, execute, run, syntax, editor, work space and HTML.  

The 6th grade students used the GUI interface from to drag and drop blocks to the work space to complete a task, Then, I showed them the code that is generated and executed behind the scenes.  They were surprised to see the ration of the number of blocks to the number of lines of code.  After they completed the Hour of Code Angry Birds activity, they continued to challenge themselves by completing other activities such as Frozen, Flappy Code, Code Monkey and BitsBox.  When they completed the level, I took pictures of each student with their certificate.

The 7th grade students wrote HTML code in Notepad to create a simple webpage.  They were amazed to be able to format and justify text, insert an image and link, and horizontal lines on the screen.  They quickly realized the importance of keyboarding skills.  They were forced to type syntax that they normally would not have to type. They realized every little detail was important and needed to be accurate or the program would not execute properly.  They used their problem solving and critical thinking skills to troubleshoot their programs and collaborated with each other to help one another.    

In addition, I showed them an application called Expressions Web which allows you to build webpages, and how to view source code on a webpage within a browser.  I wanted them to realize how much code it takes to make a webpage function properly.  One of students response was, "I feel bad for the Google coders because they have to write a lot of code!" 

One of my 7th grade students found a website called Best HTML Codes which allows you to copy FREE HTML code into your program.  The student explained the website to the rest of the class. They were able to copy the HTML code of a special effect and paste it into their HTML program. They were amazed with the amount of code that was required to create the special effect.  

By the end of the week, they completed their simple webpage and were proud! I am proud to say they became coders!!! 

Here are a few examples of their webpages! I am in the process of creating a presentation.  I will post it when it is completed.  

Some quotes from Students during Computer Science Week:

What is syntax? "It is grammar for the computer."

What is a computer program?  "It is ones and zeros!"  "It tells the computer what to do!"

"I can't believe it takes all that code to be able to change the color of a word."

"I would hate to be a Google coder. They must write a lot of code!"

"Wow, this is cool!"

"This website, Best HTML Codes, is really cool!"