The Hour of Code is a worldwide celebration of computer science and will be December 3-9, 2018. Over 100,000,000 students worldwide have participated in years past. The Hour of Code website explains, "Every student should have the opportunity to learn computer science. It helps nurture problem-solving skills, logic and creativity. By starting early, students will have a foundation for success in any 21st-century career path." The Hour of Code gives students the opportunity to be introduced to computer science and see firsthand how fun and creative it can be.
Coding is a basic language of this generation. Put simply, coding is creating step-by-step instructions that a computer can understand and follow in order for its programs to work. Teachers and students do not need complex robots or computer programs to code. There are several free online resources that students can use to code individually, in pairs or groups, or whole-class by projecting on the screen. Additionally, there are many resources that allow for "unplugged" coding, which is coding without a device.
At what age can children begin coding? With adult support, Pre-K students are more than capable to begin coding. The Texas Pre-K Guidelines include spatial reasoning standards like:
V.C.3. Child demonstrates use of location words (such as "over," "under," "above," "on," "beside," "next to," "between," "in front of," "near," "far," etc.).
VI.A.2. Child observes, investigates, describes and discusses position and motion of objects.
Coding involves spatial reasoning and logic and is a fun way to get young learners developing those thinking skills. NAEYC has an interesting blog that explains how teachers can easily create coding stories and games that students can use to begin their coding experience. Students will have fun playing these games that not only promote coding skills, but also allow for early math and literacy practice.
Through initiatives like Hour of Code, coding is being made accessible to all students, regardless of age or skill level. How will you support a learner in developing the foundation necessary for a 21st century career?