MCSD, join us in the Hour of Code!
December 7 - 11
What is the Hour of Code?
“Launched in 2013, Code.org® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding access to computer science, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color. Our vision is that every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science. We believe computer science should be part of core curriculum, alongside other courses such as biology, chemistry or algebra.
Code.org increases diversity in computer science by reaching students of all backgrounds where they are — at their skill-level, in their schools, and in ways that inspire them to keep learning. Read about our efforts to increase diversity in computer science.” (source)
In an effort to accomplish this mission, the annual Hour of Code was born. The organization calls on schools across the country to provide students with the opportunity to learn about coding for one hour during the designated week. This year, that week is December 7 - 11.
As a district, we are hoping you will help make this happen. Below, you will find some ideas about how you might include an hour of coding during that week. Before we get to that though, let’s address another question.
I'm not a computer science teacher, so why should I care about this?
The first answer to this is that you may not be a computer science teacher, but as a teacher, the big-picture goal should be to help prepare your students for their futures. There are currently 586,982 computing jobs open in the United States, and last year 38,175 computer science students graduated (source). Computer science is currently a top paying college degree, and jobs in that sector are growing at twice the national average. We have all heard the stories for years now about the numbers of college graduates with record amounts of debt, unable to find employment in their fields. Through the Hour of Code we are obviously not training our students for these jobs, but we can expose them to a field that they might otherwise remain completely unaware of as a possible career path.
The second answer is that even if you aren’t a computer science teacher, there are elements to learning coding that can benefit your students in what you do teach. Effective coding requires a great number of skills, including attention to detail, critical thinking, like understanding of processes such as cause and effect. So as we look for more evidence of higher order thinking skills from our students, coding can be one vehicle for teaching and demonstrating those skills.
Finally, as a district, we have three overarching goals: engaging classrooms, safe environments, and informed decisions. You may find yourself surprised by how far coding can go toward the first goal. Not only are the activities provided by Code.org fun, but students find them very relevant. Being told that they can learn to create their own smartphone apps is very motivating for many students.
Ok, I'm in...so what do I do?
If you would prefer to try something less formal, check out their page of tutorials, broken up by level of proficiency with coding. You'll find tutorials that are grade appropriate for you. You could pick a tutorial, or give your students a few options. Please notice that they offer a series of "unplugged" tutorials too that teach the elements of coding without the need for devices.
If you look at the resources provided on Code.org and you’re comfortable with working something from there into your your lessons for the week of December 7-11, great! If you’re still uneasy about how to actually incorporate coding in your class that week and want some help, great! Get in touch with me (firstname.lastname@example.org), and I would be happy to help you in any way I can to give you and your students a fun and successful Hour of Code experience.