Will your class join an ‘Hour of Code’?

This week many educators across the globe will be leading their students through an ‘Hour of Code‘ . For those who have not stumbled across an ‘Hour of Code’, the aim of the December 9-15 campaign is to introduce learners to computer coding for one hour in order to inspire a greater number of students learning a skill many educators feel is essential for the future of innovation.

Organised by the US Computer Science Education Week team, Code.org has developed a number of resources to support educators to participate in an ‘Hour of Code’. The campaign is in no way limited to the US, rather it has grown into a global movement supported by many well know technologists. This post highlights three fun, well structured options you might consider to engage your students.

Option 1 – Choose the An hour of Code activity specifically designed and prepared by Code.ORG 

In this Hour Of Code movement Code.Org has pre-prepared an activity for students to complete. The movie below is a great introduction to this fun coding activity. In this activity, students are guided to easily create a game that moves the Angry Bird out of a maze. 

Option 2 – Choose from a list of activities suggested by Code.org

For those who would like to create their own activities, Code.Org has created a resource page http://code.org/learn  to inspire your preparation. All these activities have been developed for an ‘Hour of Code’ and support teachers who are are also just beginning to learn coding language. Why not consider activities such as:

  • Tutorials for Beginners
  • Tutorials that Teach Java script
  • Activities for those who do not have the interent
  • Tutorial apps for any device
  • Other computing languages such as Python
  • Make your own apps 
  • Other learning options 

Option 3 – Try some of the recommended third party apps

Since a Windows 8 machine can give the best of both worlds through the ability to use both Apps and software, your choices for leading coding activites are numerous. You can complete any of the activities mentioned above, but you also have the option of working with full software such as Kodu, Scratch or Unity.

You can find some more 3rd Party Coding recommendations at Code.org. 

Three fun coding ideas from Microsoft

Idea 1: Windows 8 TouchDevelop 

This platform supports educators and students to create Windows 8 apps. The platform has created specific resources to make ‘An Hour of Code’ a fun and engaging activity. You can access everything you need at the TouchDevelop Hour of Code site

Idea 2: Kodu

Kodu, the popular games creation software in which students can create games to play on the XBox is now available both in stand alone install and Windows 8 App. We showcased more ideas on using Kodu in a previous post on this blog. You might find some more ideas to continue coding after an ‘Hour of Code’ is done. The Kodu Game Lab is ready for the week ahead with a special ‘Hour of Code’ resources to guide educators.

Idea 3: Project Spark

Another Microsoft app and platform you might like to introduce is the brand new, and still in Beta, Project Spark. Through Project Spark, students can create and share amazing professional looking games. This platform is just about to be released in Beta, so it may or may not be a possibility for an ‘Hour of Code’. It is definitely worth signing up for the beta and encouraging young coders to play during the summer break. The Project Spark App can be found in the Windows 8 store.

To end, we’d like to share with you an inspirational video about learning to code. A video that shares the first steps in coding that so many who now develop code for household applications and technologies endured.

What are you waiting for, register you class now and enjoy the fun of an ‘Hour of Code’. Use the comments section to share with us the coding fun you had this week. For more general information about how to organise your school or class to participate in an Hour of Code check out this page which gives some great ideas to inspire and focus the learning.

Want to be a Guest Blogger? If you would like to  share how you use Microsoft in your classroom, please email [email protected] and tell us your idea for a post.