Majority of the time, I find myself in agreement with others that coding is pretty much over our heads. Personally, I have had little experience in how programming and coding works, and therefore I have found it difficult to include it in my teaching. However, during internship, I introduced my grade 6 and 7 students to Scratch, a website designed to allow “young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.” Students can create their own games, animations, stories, and/or explore creations made by others. I had previously explored Scratch and had attempted to code my own animation as part of ECMP 355, but I still felt pretty anxious regarding how to bring it into the classroom. I approached a group of students that I felt would be interested and engaged in exploring what Scratch has to offer, and I am glad I did. Until the end of my internship, they continuously wanted to be working on their coding creations during any spare minute they had. I loved seeing the genuine enjoyment and love for the experience when they were coding. I eventually decided to introduce the website to the whole class and was surprised to see that majority of the students were excited about it.
— Marissa Livingstone (@ED_MissL) October 28, 2015
But still, why does the idea of teaching coding bring up such anxiety and/or lack of comfortability?
- Lydia found Hour of Code to be a great tool for learning the process of coding, but is still unsure of the benefit of bringing it into classrooms at the secondary level
- Matthew states he was anxious just thinking about exploring the process on his own
- Rheanne has a great post on the potential for integrating coding into teaching and recommended a great tool called Sphero, but she also states that she initially had little desire to learn about coding.
- Brea offers some great points regarding the potential mistakes teachers can make – don’t just teach code for the sake of teaching code, there needs to be some focus on how it can benefit student learning and experience. Although I agree with this, I think this perspective could make teachers avoid it completely due to a lack of knowledge and/or experience.
One option of helping to alleviate stress and anxiety related to understanding the basics of coding is to participate in the Hour of Code.
Hour of Code simplifies basic coding practices and anyone would be able to participate in the experience. I found it beneficial in furthering my understanding of basic coding principles, and although I found that many times I actually coded more lines than were needed (i.e. 11/9 lines of code), I still completed each step. Take a look at my screencast showing the final step of the hour.
Do you think Hour of Code has made you feel more comfortable with teaching coding? Are you still unsure of the benefits? Tell me what you think.