Beyond the #HourofCode

I basically wanted to share Jim Cash’s recent post in this blog post. He writes awesome stuff on computational thinking, Scratch, etc… If you’re on Twitter and interested in this sort of reading, make sure you’re following @cashjim.

I just wanted to share the importance of going beyond the hour of code, and a bit of what we’re up to in trying to do so.

Going Beyond the Hour of Code

Last year, we started coding just before the Hour of Code, so not too many people even knew what  I was talking about when I asked them to try coding in their classrooms.

But things are slowly but surely turning around. So much more awareness has been spread in just under a year since we introduced coding at our board.

  • Last year around this time, we had Lisa Floyd from Fair Chance Learning up to keynote and put on sessions at our 2nd Annual Google Student Summit to add a little coding spice to the day.
  • With the help of CODE and the TLF, we had a small group of teachers explore coding in various forms, also with the help of Lisa Floyd.

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This year, to help share the importance of computational thinking in K-12, I decided to launch a 5-week challenge from November 20th, through the Hour of Code week, and ending just in time for Christmas. I got admin on board and we’re offering awesome prizes including Spheros, Makey Makeys, Micro:bits and Flipgrid licenses! (If you don’t know about Flipgrid, you’re totally missing out!)


Here’s a link to a calendar to give you an idea of what we’re up to:

This idea was inspired by a colleague and friend of mine, Stacey Wallwin. She did this last year with awesome success, and is of course doing it again this year. Thanks Stacey!

Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everyone, not just for computer scientists. To reading, writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability. (Wing, 2006)

As we approach the Hour of Code, don’t stop there.

As mentioned above, Jim Cash’s post provides five great examples of how to do this. We’re just starting with a coding blitz of sorts to start the ball rolling – but it’s really only the beginning.

There are many more resources out there to help as well. Here is a couple (there are many more – if you have one comment below and I’ll add it!):

There’s a ton of buzz about coding not only in Ontario, but worldwide. Here’s a a news release from Mitzy Hunter last year around this time, explaining a little bit about how Ontario is supporting students to learn how to code:

Ontario Helping Students Learn to Code

All students need to be provided the opportunity to code; what we need to do is at least give them a chance. Once you do so, however, be prepared to be blow away in so many ways.

I virtually guarantee it.

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