Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Coding for Kids

   In a packed Holliston Technology Lab, students were tirelessly working through and correcting code on their computers.  Holliston High School?  Adams School? Miller?  No! These were Placetntino students in Kindergarten and Grades one, two and Montessori!  If you asked the students to give a definition of coding they would reply "telling the computer what to do, step-by-step".

   Placentino students participated in The Hour of Code, a global initiative by CSEdWeek and code.org to introduce computer science and programming to over 100 million students worldwide..  The Hour of Code is a one-hour introduction to computer programming, designed to demystify code and show that anyone can learn.

In an effort to make use of all the new technology Placentino has received, the Computer lab was set up into four different Learning Centers.  A group of five to six students rotated to each station for a coding activity.

  • Nexus 7 Tablets : Students went to the educational app,  The Foos.  They participated in several increasingly challenging drag-and-drop coding puzzles that introduce kids to the logic of programming using visual blocks of code.

  • Interactive White Board:  At this fully engaging and multi-sensory station, students collaborated to complete some online, interactive coding challenges. The website Tynker  is more about teaching kids how to think like a programmer, than it is about writing out long lines of code.  It’s a great introductory lesson.

  • Code a Friend:  In this technology-less station, students had the challenge of coding each other to walk around the room using paper arrows and no verbal directions.

  • Computers/Chromebooks: In this free choice activity students were directed to Placentino’s Hour of Code Symbaloo.   Students could select from a variety of coding activities including, Code.orgKodable,  Lightbot, Tynker and Kahn Academy. The students were enrolled in classes so that they could progress at their own rate in subsequent sessions

Even if you don't have a classroom full of future computer programmers, learning the fundamentals of coding provides students with skills that will serve them well in virtually any career they choose. Plus, there are few things that ignite and excite a room full of learners like a coding class!