This is my first crack at “coding”. Prior to last week, I really had no idea what coding was. Honestly, I’m still not entirely sure what it is. That being said, the same way we are being encouraged to be critical of things like the media, we should be aware of what goes in other things we consume as well. How do things online work? It’s easy to just pass over those types of things, but as we head into a future where we continue to be inundated with more and more technology, it’s vital that all students have a better understanding of the inner workings of the internet.
I think it’s the same way a lot of things. You don’t really appreciate something until you begin to understand what goes into making it possible. For instance, I didn’t really put much thought into say, eating a sandwich, until I started helping out on the farm. Now that I have a bit of background and understanding about farming, I have a whole new level of respect for what it means, and what goes into producing a lot of the food I eat.
To relate that to coding, I have never thought about what goes into programming a website or developing algorithms until now. After having a look at Scratch during class, I honestly thought it was a bit strange right at the start. The first animation that we saw was of a cat, spinning around and meowing. I didn’t really get it. I enjoyed exploring Hour of Code more early on, because I feel it was aimed right at the beginner level, and I am most definitely a beginner. However, I started to pick up the idea of adding steps to make the cat do other things on the Scratch website, and how that would relate to creating a game or video story.
When I took at crack at Scratch, it was pretty frustrating at the start. I tried a couple of different examples, like the dancing crab and dance party, but I wasn’t really doing much of anything. I couldn’t get the crab the keep changing positions like the original video showed. I then went back to the cat video and played a round a little more. Still, nothing spectacular, but things began to piece together.
The animation is less then stellar, but you have to think that the more you play around with coding and making projects, the more comfortable you become and the more it makes sense.
I think students would have a lot of fun playing around with coding. The first day or two might be tough, trying to figure out how to make everything flow, but the speed that students progress when it comes to technology is amazing, and before long I imagine they would be coming up with pretty sweet animations.
Way better than this one…
By having students start developing projects and coding early on, their understanding of what goes into making the internet what it is, would be substantial. As mentioned earlier, the higher the level of understanding of something, the more respect you’ll have for it.
It also gives students another avenue to explore. So many students are interested in technology, but maybe aren’t given the proper tools to explore the inner workings of it. Beginning with so basic coding activities and encouraging exploration and development on Scratch, which looks like it has a tonne of avenues to go down.
I may not understand it fully yet, but I can understand the possibilities it could open up for students. Teachers have a big responsibility for bringing coding into the classroom. I am not even close to fully understanding coding, but there are people that do, and resources available to get going. After that, students will most likely take off take off.