JTL STARTS THEIR “HOUR OF CODE”
It’s another exciting time in the art room at JTL. This past week, (December 5-9), kicked off the “International Hour of Code” through https://studio.code.org. My smART partner, Miss Chris and I, introduced this worldwide introduction to coding last year in the art room as an optional assignment for students in place of their monthly sketchbook check. However, after some reflection and discussion, we felt that having a basic introduction to coding is essential for today’s students. Thus, we decided that every student in art class will complete an “hour of code”. Plus, coding fits right into our STEAM initiative!
6th Grade starts the “Hour of Code” in Art Class.
Students logged into Code.org and linked their account with their school Google account. This way, their progress could be saved and students can continue to explore all of the exciting lessons on the website. One of the great aspects of code.org is that students can work at their own pace and choose from a variety of lessons that interest them. There are lessons that allow students to write lines of code using Minecraft, Flappy Bird, Disney, etc. Students are given step-by-step instructions on what their goal is. The student has a variety of commands to choose from to reach that goal. The student “drags and drops” the commands into the “workspace” and then hits “run” to see if their commands worked. It is really fun to hear their exclamations of “Yes!” and “I did it!” when it works!
The students collaborate and help each other out when they get “stuck” while they are learning to code.
Coding has become part of our everyday life. We use computers every day and computers are becoming a part of the greater world around us. I used this You Tube video, “Computer Science is Changing Everything”, to demonstrate to students the many facets of computer science. It is amazing to learn how computers and coding can be used in so many varied career fields. Coding goes way beyond the stereotypical “video-gaming” and “tech-world”.
LEARNING TO CODE SHOULD BE LIKE “LEARNING TO READ”.
Today’s students have grown up with technology since birth. It starts with a streamed video on a phone or tablet while Mom and Dad do their household chores. As the child gets older, they learn that they can make the phone or tablet do things when they swipe and touch the screen. This evolves into the child playing games and apps. Soon the children are watching You Tube, playing video games and interacting on social media. It all happens so fast and it is hard to stop and think about “how” all of this works. That is why introducing students to coding is so important.
Our goal is to get students to understand that all of the technology they use is based on coding. Someone wrote the code to make an app work, to develop the game they are playing and to make their instagram account work. It all comes back to coding. It is a basic language. If they can start to understand the basics of coding, they might create the next app, website or invention that contributes something positive to the world.
INSPIRING THROUGH STEAM.
Students have already been exploring many of the art apps out there such as Google Drawings, Pixton and Sketchio. By introducing students to another aspect of technology in the art room, I hope to inspire students to continue to keep their minds open to all of the different ways one can create. Perhaps a student isn’t incredibly interested in art or has a career in mind that art doesn’t quite “mesh” with, but by learning to code, they realize they can still problem-solve and develop unique approaches to a problem. That is what we do in art. We develop ideas. We test the idea. We reflect. We remain flexible. We work towards a goal. Coding in the art room just might lead students towards developing something really great in the future. Plus, it’s fun to learn something challenging through “play”.
Abbey finishes her “Hour of Code” on Chromebook!