This past week, some classes participated in the Hour of Code. Given the choice between Star Wars, Minecraft and Frozen, the students chose Star Wars or Minecraft. This coding journey could have been a flop or success; it proved to be a positive experience for students and myself.
I tinkered with the Hour of Code website before showing students how to use the program. That way, I would hopefully field questions or possible concerns that students might have had. Before starting the coding game, I loved how there was a video that provided knowledge about computer science and programming. This gave students some information to think about and maybe consider this field a career choice down the road.
Before this week, I did not have much experience coding. I know some basic HTML, but that’s about it. Everything about this week’s lesson was outside my comfort zone, but that was OK. It was beneficial to push outside my comfort zone to try new things; I need to practice what I preach to students.
I decided to try the Star Wars code game. It took time to figure out what I actually had to accomplish to move to the next level. Not being strong in math or science, I journeyed on to finish the levels. You have to problem-solve, think of the next step and imagine different possibilities. After completing the levels, I felt accomplished and thought, “This is kind of neat.” It took some time for me to finish, but I was happy I did not give up.
In classes, I noticed students’ process of thinking. Surprisingly, students that learn non-traditionally had an easier time thinking outside the box. Students were engaged and asked to do this again. I will attempt to make coding one of my weekly makerspace classes.
Overall, coding was a new experience for me and students. Were we perfect coders the first time around? No way, and that’s OK. Part of makerspaces, coding and STEAM involves making mistakes and trying again. It is part of the learning process and the journey.
I do think that coding should have a place in schools, especially elementary, so as to spark interest in STEAM and to have students think about different college/career options. Coding showed my students to think outside the box, but realized it’s OK to not have everything correct the first time around.