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The team at Awesome Inc has run over a dozen Hour of Code sessions at K-12 schools, introducing over 1200 students to the basics of Computer Science and programming. This course covers a few tips and tricks that we’ve learned to make these sessions more fun for students, and more enjoyable for teachers/staff/parents to facilitate.
- Learn how to run an Hour of Code session at your K-12 school
- Discover resources for students to continue their computer programming education after the Hour of Code session
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Awesome Inc - Learn to Code, Start a Company, Create Something New.
An Hour of Code is an (approximately 1-hour long) event where students get the opportunity to learn the basics of Computer Science through a series of hands-on programming activities.
Before your Hour of Code begins, do the following:
- 1. Identify a location for your event. Computer labs work great if available, but if you're in a 1:1 school (1 laptop or mobile device per student, with Wi-Fi access), then any room will do. A projector or large display in the front of the room is helpful for showing a video.
- 2. Review the online resources and test them on your school's network. Load up a video from Code.org on YouTube. Try the Angry Birds tutorial. If these links are blocked at your school, see if your network admin or IT staff can temporarily allow access to them.
- 3. If you're doing an offline activity, make sure you have the necessary materials (eg plastic cups, paper, pencils for the My Robotic Friends activity).
- 4. You and any teaching assistants should go all the way through your chosen activity. Things will get tricky at some point, and some students will get stuck. If you've been through the activity before, you'll be more prepared to help.
- 5. If available, invite a teacher, parent, or local professional who has experience with computer programming. Ask them to give a 5-minute explanation of what they do and how programming works. Have them stick around to interact 1-on-1 with students as they're doing the activities.
- 6. Get excited! Students will have a lot of fun with these activities. Their excitement will feed off of yours, so don't be afraid to make mistakes (even great programmers do that). Dive in and see what you can do!
This FULL WALKTHROUGH will explain how to complete each step in the Angry Birds and Plants vs Zombies. Feel free to skip this lecture if you don't need this level of detail.
When our team from Awesome Inc is visiting a school, we have a teacher or staff member introduce us to the students. Typically they say a few words as to why they decided to host an Hour of Code session at their school, as well as mentioning other opportunities (courses, summer camps, clubs, etc) where students who enjoy the Hour of Code session can go next.
We send students to a list of tutorials (most via Code.org or Codecademy) and then our team walks around the room to provide assistance where needed. Peer support (students helping students) is also a big part of this learning experience.
When we're done, we point out to the students that they've all written code. They have a long way to go before they're proficient programmers, but this at least breaks the ice and whets their appetite to learn more. We congratulate them on their progress so far, and inform them of additional resources / next steps for learning to code.
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