As December’s Hour of Code approaches, coding skills are in the spotlight
Computer science skills are becoming more and more important to success in today’s economy, and this importance is highlighted during the annual Hour of Code. A number of resources on Code.org and other sites can help students of all ages and skill levels develop coding skills.
The Hour of Code, which can occur at any time during Computer Science Education Week (Dec. 8-14), is a one-hour coding activity during which students choose from self-guided tutorials that work on browsers, smartphones, tablets, or even work without computers at all.
Last year, more than 15 million students in 170 countries participated in the Hour of Code, and Code.org hopes to get 100 million students coding during this year’s Computer Science Education Week. In fact, more girls tried computer science in those seven days than in the entire 70 years prior to the event, said Kiki Prottsman, executive director of Thinkersmith, during an edWeb webinar highlighting Hour of Code coding resources and activities.
(Next page: Coding resources for students of all ages)
“Computer science is the way the world is going—it’s the new literacy,” she said. “Not only does it teach you have to program the machines we’re using today, it also teaches you a whole different set of problem-solving skills.”
Fewer schools teach computer science now than 10 years ago, though, despite the prediction that more than half of new jobs (60 percent) in all of the sciences will be computing jobs. Bringing computer science education to younger grades will help combat the common middle school mentality that students view themselves as “no good” at coding.
Time of often a challenge, Prottsman said, which is why the Hour of Code can help—it’s just an hour, and there are a number of resources available to help students jump right in and start coding.
Coding resources for younger students
Code Studio: This site offers 20 hour-long coding courses for elementary school students.
Beyond an Hour: Students can access resources to make their own apps or games, can check out university courses online, learn to program with robots, and more.
Other resources for grades K-5 include:
- CS is Fun (resources for older students are included, too)
- Code Maven: This interactive tutorial focuses on simple, active coding that yields immediate results for students.
- Scratch from MIT
Coding resources for older students
Project GUTS: Code.org partnered with Project Growing Up Thinking Scientifically (GUTS) to deliver a middle school science program consisting of instructional and professional development materials focusing on computer science, modeling, and simulation.
Bootstrap: Bootstrap teaching math concepts through computer programming. The resource is broken down into nine units.
Outside Code.org, resources for older students include:
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