Saturday, August 4, 2018

If I Were a Wizard: Coding for Littles... And More!

Last week, I was delighted to find this book delivered in my mailbox from Amazon. 
"If I Were A Wizard" (hardback) by Paul Hamilton
At first glance, it looks like another delightful children's book, doesn't it? In actuality, "If I Were a Wizard" by Paul Hamilton teaches readers young and old all about computational thinking and coding concepts. And it does this without intimidating terminology (and yet provides connections at the end). 

When I talked with Paul this July at the 2018 Apple Distinguished Educator Institute, I was amazed by his humility. It struck a chord with me when he mentioned that humans are drawn to story, but true connections are made via characters. Thus he created Hazel. And Hazel is more than a beautiful mouse on the pages of the book or the digital swipes in iBooks. Hazel is a relatable comrade for all those who get to know her. Students can "meet" Hazel and experience her world through Augmented Reality with the free app Wizard AR. While exploring this magical world, teachers like Katie Gardner can capitalize on creative writing opportunities. Or simply enjoy an original title track performed by a beautiful young vocal wizard. Teachers can build closer relationships with Hazel by visiting the website and downloading the numerous free educational resources-- writing, math, art, and even more beyond just coding. It is clear to see that Paul has created more than just a coding book! 
It is hard to debate the value in teaching coding concepts in today's primary classrooms. With "If I Were a Wizard" young children of all ages and backgrounds will be inspired to consider today's reality-- that they, too, can code.  And I will continue to be inspired by the author's dedication to education that matters. 

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