Next week, we kick off a week of coding, and also a time to talk about the good, the bad and ugly about social media.
Coding is something that could be exciting for every age group – from simple problem-solving skills, to what-if scenarios. Students will log-into places such as Code.org, Khan Academy, Scratch, and Blockly. I like how Scratch is positioned as a way to “Create stories, games, and animations.”
Two speakers will kick off the week:
Mel Adamaitis – Synapse Studios
“Why Coding Matters”
Dr. Stephanie Schull – Matter Mission
“The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Social Media.”
While we are at it, here are some good resources:
During Hour of Code, a global event to promote coding skills this week, we strive to ramp up digital literacy.
But what constitutes digital literacy? There are many definitions.
Microsoft looks at it through an ICT lens – where ICT means ‘Information Communication Technology.’ But evidently there is much more it encompasses. How about building ‘digitally inclusive communities’ as is defined by the Institute of Museum and Library Services?
It goes beyond simply learning how to be safe online, or managing one’s Instagram page. It’s about teaching young people, beginning in elementary school, the ‘literacy’ for being successful in civic or economic spaces. It’s a mistake to assume that ‘Digital Natives’ are automatically, or inherently competent in these areas.
I have previously cited Common Sense Media writer, Jessica Laura who makes the point that just as anyone who has grown up speaking English, still takes English classes, those growing up digital, still need to learn about digital literacy.
The folks behind Hour of Code often talk about the need for foundation skills related to problem-solving, logic and creativity. Similar to how all students learn about photosynthesis, they ought to also understand how algorithms and coding underpins how their world works – or does not. There are 500,000 current job openings in the US that require computer skills, they say.
As Google doodles become more interactive it’s fitting to see it launch Hour of Code with a drag-and-drop doodle. It’s their first Coding-based doodle. Have you tried it? It’s on today’s Google landing page.
Worth reading: A description by MIT’s Champika Fernando, who was on one of the 3 teams that built this doodle.
Hour of Code runs through this week, which is also Computer Science Education week, and the anniversary of 50 years of programming languages. Scratch was developed at MIT.
I’m doing this because it is Computer Science Education Week from Dec 5 – 11 with a focus on the ‘Hour of Code‘. (It is also the week when I have to take my ‘Lab’ to the classrooms, while the computer lab is being used for NWEA evaluations.)
The ‘Hour of Code’ folk have added new tutorials featuring, Star Wars. Something my students are focusing on for an Image Manipulation class this week. It helps to have Kathleen Kennedy (seen in the video below), producer of The Force Awakens explain how programming is very much a part of movie production today.
Students will specifically learn to program a game in which BB8 must be sent on missions to recover objects and deliver messages.
In case you are interested, Hour of Code has several social media outlets, including
• Twitter https://twitter.com/codeorg
• Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Code.org
• Instagram https://instagram.com/codeorg
• Tumblr https://blog.code.org