Friday, 14 October 2016

Learning to Code

Today we had a chance to learn how to code using's Hour of Code lessons.  In these lessons you learn 'computer science' by understanding how to code to create games.  You can learn more about and their aspirations here.

In Hour of Code, you can choose from a range of lessons based on popular games or movies (such as Flappy Bird, Starwars, MineCraft and Frozen).  This is great for learners as they can choose a game or movie that they are interested in.  There are two options for the lessons, blockly (for beginners) and Javascript (for advanced coders).  I chose MineCraft which uses blockly for my first attempt at Hour of Code. 

The lesson

Once you have choose your lesson and type of code, you watch a short YouTube clip that explains the coding suite and its functions.  You work through ten tasks before creating your own code.

My code

My verdict

I enjoyed completing the tasks and creating my own code.  The instructional videos helped make sense of coding.  I enjoyed the aspects of problem solving and trial and error which arose when trying to complete the tasks.  To start with I run my code after one or two blocks, however as I improved I began to create more code before checking to see if it worked.  This made me think carefully about what I was asking the game to do.

One thing that bothered me is that you always have to run your code from the start.  This gets a little frustrating when you have a lengthy code and only want to check the last few blocks. 

Aside from that, I think students would benefit from learning how to code. At this point I am not sure when/how I would fit coding into my timetable.  I may start this as an early finishers task or allocate 30 minutes of inquiry time to coding.

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