So Coding Week at school was a big success! I couldn’t believe how many of the girls seemed to genuinely enjoy the basic concepts of programming.
The Week of Code is a global event held in December with the aim of getting more people, young people especially, coding – even just for an hour. The principal of our school encouraged me to take part and introduce the older girls to some basic programming. Initially I thought I’d help them build a website or bring in my Arduino but I did feel a bit daunted by the idea of 100 girls and downloading some kind of API or rambling on to them about PHP and WordPress! I tend to complicate things. Thankfully I checked out the website Code.org and found everything I needed to get anyone play around with basic coding in a few minutes. Such a great resource!
The school is lucky to have about 20 Windows Surface Tablets and although I wouldn’t recommend that anyone rush out get one, they worked well for the task at hand. It was pretty simple in the end – for an hour each morning I basically helped a class of 5th or 6th years (about 12 – 13 years old I think) get through an hour of code using one of the super tutorials on the Code.org website. I did offer them a choice of projects but each class pretty much unanimously voted for Frozen’s Anna and Else skating app 🙂 It was so much fun! It was also kind of tricky too – especially when we introduced the concept of loops and nested loops. But I’m pretty sure it was enjoyable – about two thirds of them said they’d be interested in an after school computer club!
A lot of help along the way
Big credit goes to the code.org website which provided a truly brilliant array of resources for people of any age interested in giving coding a go. There was a lot of help each step of the way with videos, a really good programming interface and good step by step instructions. The great thing about Code.org is that there’s no setup or extra downloads of software – you just pick a project or a tutorial and go for it.
Back in the olden days…
I remember when I was about 10 my Dad tried to get me interested in programming on the old Commodore 64 – it was interesting for about 30 minutes! I’m afraid I didn’t really try much of it again for another decade.[hr]
We made the local paper!
Great photo opp with all the gals who took part. And I have to give a big thank you to our wonderful principal Ms Fay who was quite determined to get me to do it and still totally up for it herself. Though she’d say she wasn’t really into computers she completed her own hour of code and took part in 3 sessions helping me with the girls.