The Computer Science Education Week (December 4-10) is upon us, and with it comes one of the biggest education movements in history, Hour of Code. 475 million students have participated in an Hour of Code since it’s beginning and in just 60 minutes sparked a global movement to promote computer science and programming in our schools. Here’s some tools and tips to help you as you prepare.
A Quick Look
1. Inspire coding through context
Prior to starting your Hour of Code, it’s important to spark an interest and fascination in programming with your students. Take some time at the start of Computer Science Week to discuss some of the real world applications of coding. Use games and apps that students play (like Minecraft and Angry Birds), sites that student use (Facebook and Twitter) and world changing tech (iPhone and Google) to show students just how big an impact coding has on the world around them. This short but truly inspiring video from a previous year’s Hour of Code is a great place to start -- “The programmers of tomorrow are the wizards of the future“.
2. Make the most of the free resources
To ensure an Hour of Code is available to students everywhere, a lot of effort has gone into giving teachers everything they need to participate. Take a look at the ‘How to teach one Hour of Code‘ page for online tutorials, hardware guides and all sorts of motivational material. Even if you don’t have access to Internet-connected computers, there are many ways to create really meaningful and fun unplugged coding lessons. So there is really no excuse to not get involved.
4. Get awesome (free) apps
As part of the Hour of Code movement, many brilliant kids coding apps are releasing free versions just for the event. Minecraft is back with a variety of ways to utilize their platform for learning. Also take a look at some of our previous favorites: Hopescotch, Lightbot and The Foos. (If you have ones we’ve missed, please add them to the contents.)
5. Use the momentum
Finally, while the Hour of Code is a brilliant introduction to get students involved and interested in coding, try and use it a stepping stone towards making computer science part of your standard curriculum. Whether that is starting a coding club for interested students, integrating computer science into your normal lessons or just helping students to progress with their passion, there are millions of great resources to take advantage of the momentum.
Links and Next Steps
- Hour of Code How-to Guide -- Everything you need to get started
- Hour of Code Promotion Resources -- Flyers, videos, posters and more
- Prizes -- Every educator who hosts an Hour of Code is in the draw
- Computer Science Education Week -- Official site for CSEdWeek
- What Most Schools Don’t Teach -- Video (6min)
- 54 Resources for Teachers Exploring Programming
- Beyond Hour of Code -- Resources for progressing with Computer Science in schools
- An Hour of Code Fundraising -- Help raise funds for the Hour of Code movement
- How to Help -- More ways to help spread coding in classrooms