Written by Brandon Berthrong of BSD Education.
The Hour of Code is a world-wide grass-roots program built on the principle that everyone can code. They report that more than 640,000,000 people have participated in the program!
While Hour of Code can be done any time of the year, during computer science education week (December 3-9th) organizations from all over the world come together to participate in the program. Participants can do projects on the Hour of Code website or through several affiliated programs, through which they’ll complete various code-focused activities and projects.
The idea behind the program is to take an hour (though reportedly 87% of participants end up spending more time than that) to introduce people, particularly students, to the idea that they can code. While Computer Science can seem like a daunting field, through the hour of code students of all backgrounds are able to dispel some of the mystery surrounding it.
There’s a lot more that can be gleaned from the Hour of Code than just code though. Teachers and educators can also use different aspects of the Hour of Code itself as a teaching tool.
The School Demonstrating Technology in Action
As a school, it’s not just the participation, but also the way that you demonstrate your own use of technology in running your “Hour of Code” that can impart important concepts to the students.
- The way you share about your school’s participation within the school’s network as well as through external digital media can set a strong example about digital marketing, and conveying messages to different groups of people.
- Setting up video links and having students and staff in different schools work together during the hour of code can illustrate both the potential for and the power of collaboration in a digital age.
- Polling students about their experience and how it can be improved next year can make them think about user experience and the importance of data.
All of these examples highlight the opportunity to give a far deeper real world context to the Hour of Code and allow students the chance to experience technology being applied.
Students Demonstrating Technology in Action
As well as participating, students can take simple steps themselves that reinforce the ways that technology is used in the real world.
- Students can get experience with principles of digital marketing through the sharing of their completed projects with both peers and parents.
- By interviewing each other before and after the program, students will be able to consider how the program can be improved for the following year, exposing them to user experience.
- If some students formed an Hour of Code Committee, they could present the feedback from the interviews, giving hands-on experience with data analysis.
- If you collaborate with another school, students could even compare the data from their respective schools.
In the real world, it’s not all about code, it’s about how technologies and humans come together to drive solutions. The code is, however, often the starting point, the consistent ingredient to mindsets and products.
In the same way, the “Hour of Code” can also be a lot more than just an hour of learning code. It can be the first ingredient in a hearty recipe for a broad and authentic experience with technology for both students and schools.
With computer science education week coming up, from December 3-9th, the hour of code is definitely something everyone should have on their radar. We’re going to have more articles next week with ideas and examples to get the most out of the Hour of Code, but for now, you can find more information about the Hour of Code program here, and find statistics and testimonials from last year here.