Scores of teachers got their feet wet with coding during this year's Hour of Code, while millions of students began their programming education. As the holiday cheer winds down, students and teachers will return to school and take on the second half of the year. What better time to continue coding and prepare for a full year of programming education in 2017-2018?
We've heard from some rockstar teachers who go beyond the Hour of Code year after year, leading us to some helpful tips for going beyond one hour (or week) this year, and implementing a full year of coding next year and beyond.
GO for it! Try a pilot.
Piloting is simply doing a test run with a program you have some experience with and want to learn more about in order to fully implement down the road. Was there a program that stood out during the Hour of Code week? What was the one experience that floored you and your students to the point where everyone wanted more?
We know that the number one way to go beyond the Hour of Code is to just GO FOR IT. Just start. We hear from teachers constantly that jumping in head first was the turning point for computer science education in their school. Pilot a program this year, so next year everyone is prepared from the learning experience the pilot program provides. Here are some ways to get started with a pilot.
Don't keep it to yourself!
In most cases, the Hour of Code is something every teacher experiences to a different degree. Some teachers are the pioneer at their school and lead the charge, while others watch from the sidelines or dabble for an hour over the course of the week. Whatever role you've experienced, sharing successes and lessons learned with your fellow teachers and leaders is crucial to keep the movement going.
Not sure how to do that? Check out these ideas from our Hour of Code stars!
- Share data that shows how much students learned and completed during the Hour of Code. Numbers make a statement!
- Photographs. Everyone wants to see the 100% engagement you're raving about and excitement around learning tells an important story.
- Display student work- your students will feel proud and your school community will be impressed and intrigued.
- Student-led presentations say it all. Have students present during PD or host a coding night at your school. Ownership and student agency is second to none and empowering students is something we strive for as educators.
Spread the learning around.
Finding the time to fit computer science into an already jam-packed schedule is the number one challenge teachers face. Programming doesn't have to be an isolated learning experience, though. One of the biggest "ah ha!" moments we see teachers have is realizing programming fundamentals overlap in almost every area of the academic day.
- Math: Algorithms, logic, problem-solving, values, mathematical operations...you get it.
- ELA: Reading and writing pair perfectly with the most foundational programming concept, sequence. Not to mention, code is a language, just like English, with important syntax and grammar rules.
- Social Emotional Learning (SEL): Paired programming! Collaboration! Resilience and grit when you need to try and try again...and then keep trying.
- English Language Development (ELD): Directions, temporal words, prepositions, and practicing expressive skills in communication. Fun fact: the most popular feedback we get from Kodable teachers is that their ELL students have the biggest successes with coding.
Need more ideas? Check out our post on coding in the everyday classroom for an easy start.
One of the biggest things students should understand when programming is that failure is the most important element to success. The mindset that failure is important and holds zero negativity is one we should cultivate in programming education- for teachers, too!
It's highly unlikely that many teachers around the world also happen to hold a computer science degree (or even have a background in technology or using computers themselves). This isn't a problem! There are products, programs, and people ready to support teachers and help them learn right along with their students.
You will fail, your students will fail. The idea is that we all fail forward, learning and trying new things as we grow.