Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Hour of Code 2016

There were so many new resources for coding with kids available during the #HourofCode week for 2016 that I just had to share them with you through this blog post! Remember, that coding shouldn't JUST happen during Computer Science Education Week, but rather all year long! Actually, if you visit code.org NOW (following the completion of Hour of Code Week) it is even better, as your progress will be saved in the system. (It wasn't possible during the week of Dec. 5-9 due to the extremely heavy traffic to the site.) So, here are some of the new and applicable activities for schools for coding for this year's Hour of Code week and beyond:

Swift Playgrounds app

Apple recently released a free iPad app from which anyone can learn the Swift programming language. The Swift Playgrounds app will only run on a newer iPad updated to at least iOS 10, but if you are able to access it, you should definitely give it a try! The logic skills and fundamental coding lessons are excellent for any age (although geared more towards grades 5-8, in my opinion). Within the app you will find various challenges in addition to 'Learn to Code 1 and 2' including a special "Hour of Code" challenge, designed to be completed in about an hour. Also, don't forget about the free teacher's guides available, making exposure to coding easy for an educator to implement regardless of personal experience.


If you don't have a new enough iPad to run the Swift Playgrounds app, there are plenty of alternative options. Choose an 'Hour of Code' activity to get started and then go beyond an hour by joining a self-paced course.

Some of the Hour of Code activities that students really enjoyed from the Code.org website this year included the following:

Minecraft Hour of Code

Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code

Code Your Own Sports Game


See all possible activities (and filter by age level, experience, coding language, etc.) here:

Code with Google

Mickie Mueller and Becky Miller shared a Google Hangout on Air about Hour of Code Google Style.
You can view the recording below.

The following were resources they shared:
Also, check out Mickie's coding LiveBinder:

ESU 8 schools who participated in Hour of Code activities were numerous! I was personally able to visit several classrooms and lead a few activities myself. It was wonderful to see firsthand students' excitement and ability to master the art of block coding in a very short time. The rich dialogue, college and career-ready skills, and deep life lessons that come from these student experiences validate the small amount of time they take in our schools. If we have the opportunity to hook one kid onto something that he or she can continue to pursue independently, we have opened a tremendous doorway for their future!

2016_12 Hour of Code
2016 Hour of Code photos from ESU 8 ... click to advance images

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