I have volunteered in the Hour of CodeTM for the second time this year. This year and last I went to 2 schools and worked with elementary school children on the basics of code.
What is Hour of Code?
Starting in 2013 the Hour of Code was introduced for Computer Science Education Week by Code.org. During this week for 1 hour teachers, students, and volunteers are encouraged to engage in learning activities that expose, inspire, and help the students learn computer code.
Many schools still do not teach any Computer Science. As technology becomes more a part of our lives it is imperative that our leaders of tomorrow are exposed to computer code. It is important to demonstrate code on a basic level and demystify it for the students. We need to advocate for CS study in schools.
How does Hour of Code Work?
I follow this agenda:
- Introduce myself to the class
- Share my early experiences with computers
- Show students an inspirational video (see Promotional link below)
- Walk through a tutorial together (depending on age and ability)
- Assist students working in pairs on tutorial
- Answer any questions and conclude
Keep in mind the age of the students and make the presentation both engaging to their level and age appropriate.
Here are some helpful links for volunteers and teachers:
- Code.org – main site
- Tutorials – practice some before presenting. Students and teachers can access these for free whenever they like
- Code.org Store – I purchase stickers here and hand them out to the students. It really seems to motivate them.
- Hour of Code How-To – good resource for 1st time volunteers
- Volunteer information – generally useful info for volunteers
- Lesson Plan Template – sample agenda
- Best Practices for Presenters – slideshow
- Certificates – I usually tell the school about these and they can print them out if interested
- Promotional Materials – can be handouts the school prints
If you are thinking about teaching this in your classrooms or volunteering please do it. You don’t need to be a rock star programmer to teach basic coding concepts to students. They will be excited to see you and participate in the event.
I had a great time volunteering for the Hour of Code this year and hope to be invited to schools again in 2017! Educating our youth about computers, code, and technology is a topic I am passionate about and volunteering is a great way to actively improve the situation.
Sometimes, however, there are additional benefits as well… ?
“The ‘Hour of Code™’ is a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.”
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