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Hour of Code Planning

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

Hi, everyone. Last week I introduced you to Computer Science Education Week and mentioned the importance it has in our students' lives. I hope your interest was piqued just a little or a lot! And I hope you took some time to explore and Hour of Code. But, I know when you face new things it can be daunting. So, let's break it down into baby steps so you can start planning to host an Hour of Code event for your students.

Did you play with some Hour of Code activities last week? If you are looking for some easy games to experiment with, give these a try. I filtered the list for: most popular, self-led tutorial, and one-hour.

These were designed for younger students. But, if you will spend some time each day this week trying them out, you'll start to get the feel for what the activities are like. You'll begin to see how the games get more difficult the further you advance. And I think you'll notice how you are having to stop and think about your steps and why something worked or didn't work. You are beginning to experience computational thinking.

So what is computation thinking? Computational thinking has 4 key parts:

  • Decomposition - You'll see how you begin to break down the steps you need to do as you continue playing in the game.

  • Pattern Recognition - You'll catch on to patterns that appear in your game steps. You'll notice you have to take certain steps every time you face a specific situation.

  • Pattern Abstraction - You'll start to see things you need to ignore and identify things that you need to pay extra attention to.

  • Algorithm Design - And after you fail time and time again, you'll begin to master the steps and rules you need to follow to get back to the same location you were just at. And hopefully, you identify a new method to try so you can move further along in the game.

Computational thinking is something our students go through as they "play" with the Hour of Code activities you set up for them. And believe me, your teachers (and parents) will love it when their students begin to think this way. There are all kinds of benefits to computational thinking.

  • Students will gain confidence as they master higher and higher levels of a game.

  • Students will gain confidence in their ability to tackle new and difficult things.

  • Students will develop persistence as they try time and time again to get to the end of the game.

  • Students will work on their communication skills as they ask their friends and you for help.

  • Students will learn there is a personal, intrinsic reward when they do not give up when they face a challenge.

  • Students will begin to innovate and try different ways when they hit dead ends and keep going.

  • And the list goes on and one.....

So, this week, watch the introduction video for Hour of Code and try out a game or two to get your feet wet. We've got several weeks to get ready for Computer Science Education Week during December 7-13, 2020. 

Keep coding!

Dr. Laura

Did you meet Brandi Dawson this week? If not, listen to her podcast ASAP! She shared some great gems about being a leader in the library.

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