Not just your average Hour?

What happens when a whole school participates in the Hour of Code?
Imagine if every teacher and administrator could answer that question?

Well, I know we can. Judging by the global numbers from this year’s event more educators are discovering the answers for themselves.

We are on the map for the Hour of Code.

We are on the map for the Hour of Code.

This past week students from JK to Grade 8 @BeckettFarmPS , in Markham, Ontario Canada (my home school in the YRDSB) took part in the worldwide Hour of Code, and the results were anything but average.

“I couldn’t believe how easy it was for students to open the apps, and begin writing their own code.” Grade 3/4 teacher

“You could have heard a pin drop. Our class is definitely going to do this again!” Grade 1/2 teacher

My grade 6 Language class was no exception. From the get go, our classroom became abuzz with ideas and excitement across the board. I’m still chuckling as I recall how a student, only 20 minutes into our hour, comes to me and announces he’s stuck. To which I replied, “Now what do you think you need to do?” Followed by mutual shoulder shrugs. 5 minutes later it became the Happy Dance for that student as he announced his success.

Hour of Code SistersThroughout our Hours of Code, over 300 students were in complete control of the choices, content and outcomes in their coding. Imagine the powerful opportunities of coding to inspire problem solving, growth mindset, learning from failure and perseverance in students? After our ‘hour’, our students became Beckett Farm PS’s Code buddies with other classes. Our Hour of Code  also allowed for student leadership in school as students became sources of encouragement and support with one another. That’s what I call an #EduWin/

If you’re still on the fence about getting involved? Consider the following responses to the FAQs we  encountered while preparing for our Hour of Code at Beckett Farm PS.

1. Q: How can I teach this when I’ve never coded before? A: You don’t. Students will be teaching themselves.
2. Q: Do I have to prepare in advance? A: No. The Apps are loaded and ready for immediate use.
3. Q: What if students struggle? A: There are a number of App choices for all levels if a particular program proves too difficult.  A2: Appropriate struggle is good for students while learning to code because it teaches them to use problem solving strategies in order to succeed.

Code Buddies

 What I like about the Hour of Code is that students and teachers are co-learners and intellectual equals. Coding provides a fresh starting line that is rarely available in education.  Where else could a kindergarten student be a learning colleague alongside his/her teacher? If you consider the possibility of being able to journey alongside of students instead of leading/guiding them as a monumental opportunity in education, you’ll understand that an Hour of Code is greater than 60 minutes of quality engagement with the future.

Coding is empowering, inclusive and ageless. It is no longer hidden behind firewalls to remain the domain of older students and the tech savvy.

I am already looking forward to next year.

If you participated in this year’s Hour of Code, please share your experiences with me at any time via the comments section of this post or via Twitter @willgourley