Hour of Code is an annual event launched by Code.org where teachers try their hand at computer science can use the annual.
It happens annually at the Computer Science Education Week (December 6–12 this year) and initially started out as a fun way to introduce students to coding and computer science (CS).
Hour of Code recognizes Grace Hopper, a computer pioneer who was born on December 9, 1906.
Some teachers tend to avoid CS and HOC owing to the fear they don’t want to lose their class’s instructional nature and rigor.
While others struggle to understand where to begin teaching CS because it is as new to them as it is for students.
Here are some misconceptions around teaching coding and CS that must be debunked:
- You need to have majored in or extensively studied CS to teach coding. This is simply false—you do not have to be a CS expert to give effective lessons. It simply takes organization and a little bit of experience with the edtech you’re having students use
- CS is not for everyone. It is common that computer geeks and hackers do excel in CS. Hadi Partovi, in His famous TED Talk, explains that anyone can learn CS if they focus on understanding the foundational principles
- You need to be an expert in math. It is true, CS is all about solving computational problems—math helps us analyze and design the steps required to solve those problems, but one doesn’t need to be a math guru to excel in CS
There are several entry points into CS as HOC isn’t the only one, but it is a popular one that teachers can utilize effectively with little to no prep time. Check out the list below on how to use HOC effectively:
6 tips for a successful Hour of Code:
1. Watch this video to get familiar with how to host the HOC in your school or classroom. You’ll also be provided with useful information on CS job opportunities.
2. Use code.org to register your school in order for your school’s name and city to be on both their map and events page.
3. Settle activities by exploring these one-hour tutorials. Newbie or experienced K-12 CS learners can enjoy multiple reading and comfort levels.
Here are ways you can go about this:
- Select one tutorial to infuse in your entire class—this is great kids that are new to CS. Practising the tutorial before implementing in the class would allow you insights on how to assist students during class
- Let students who have some CS experience choose their tutorial to work on. They can adjust comfort levels in the lessons they choose
- Choose from unplugged lessons and tutorials if technology is a problem
- Students should be paired if there aren’t enough devices.
4. Promote your HOC by celebrating your students’ work by taking to social media using the hashtags #CSEdWeek and #HourofCode. The hashtags also help you join the CS learning community and have access to the work of countless educators from all over the world.
5. Give completion certificates to each of your participating students. These are really a nice touch to your HOC. Young people (as well as adults) are always very proud to display their certificates for others to see.
6. If you’re not a CS teacher, it is advisable to stick to one project per semester (not more than three weeks) in order to keep students coding or trying out other CS learning.
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