How I Use It
I am trying to get high school students interested in Computer Science Principles and computer programming and build an interest within them to take Computer Science courses. For students who have never had any coding, computing, or computational thinking experience, it was a great way to generate some curiosity of what computer programming or how to give a computer instructions to perform a specific task. I took it upon myself to do an hour of code event for the high school I work at, which included 2400 students. I first had to convince our administration and staff to have an hour of code event school-wide; Code.org provided numerous resources, including how to guide for teachers, event how to guide, handouts, videos, posters, social media and web-site banners, sample emails for all members of the community, including students, parents, staff, district and local government officials. We were able to have approximately 800 plus students do the hour of code at the same time. Code.org has some excellent videos that motivate and inspire students to learn about Computer Science. We used desktops, laptops, tablets, and smart phones to do the hour of code. We did experience networking issues, but, all in all, many students enjoyed the experience and had a good time learning how to code! I went around the school and told staff and students to work together in pairs or small groups to complete the hour of code; it turned out well! We even had a local news station interview come out and did a story on the hour of code. I now am able to recruit many more students in the pilot AP Computer Science Principles course at Sweetwater High School; I did recruit students that had programming experience or that were in my current Computer Science Principles course work with teachers and classrooms to resolve any technical or questions in regards to coding; although the Hour of Code does not provide a deep understanding of the content for Computer Science, that is not its main purpose; its main purpose is to generate an interest in Computer Science within one hour, and I think that the Hour of Code does this; I rate it a 5!
I have used Code.org and the Hour of Code activities for the Computer Science courses I teach at the start of the course. It is a really great way to have students learn about coding or providing instructions to the computer to perform a specific task. Some of the coding activities may not generate interest for students that have ample coding experience or have learned programming languages such as Java. But I think it provides great lessons for beginners about computing and computational thinking.