How I Use It
This year, I decided to incorporate extensive coding into my technology class. I heard about Code.org and decided to try it. More than any other lessons I have taught, the coding lessons have been the most exciting for my students. Before we began using Code.org, I showed my students the introductory video and walked them through the basics of how to use Blockly and troubleshoot bad code. Then I allowed them to work independently through the modules, offering assistance as needed. The self-pacing feature was really nice as my fast coders could fly through without onerous wait times and my slower coders could work at their own rate without delaying anyone else. The noise level can get loud so I recommend headphones for your own sanity! The internal support provided to students is very good. Although I did this with all students working independently in a large group, this could easily be incorporated into a small group rotation. Each month, I conduct a family technology meeting where I share technology lessons and projects with our parents. Today, I walked the parents through Code.org and had them do the same coding as their children. They loved it! The informational videos were very helpful to explain the purpose and importance of teaching coding. The videos are captioned in many languages to help everyone understand the content better.
I only have one complaint. The actual code may be viewed through a link, but I wish it were displayed prominently in a separate pane so the students can make a stronger connection between the blocks and the code.
Code.org is a great place to start teaching students to code. The Angry Birds and Flappy Birds lessons have video introductions with pop-up windows providing prompts and troubleshooting advice to students as they work their way through the self-paced, sequential modules. Teachers do not need to have experience with coding to use Code.org. If you follow along the lessons with your students, you will learn as well. Code.org partners with other organizations and websites, so you will find links to other learning modules from Scratch, Khan Academy, Tynker, LightBot, and more. There is something here for all students from 2nd grade through adult.
There is more comprehensive lessons available to teachers beyond the Hour of Code curriculum. If you register as a teacher, you can sign up your class and work them through a 20-hour course on computer science designed for K-8 students. The site offers a lot of support to help teachers get started.