If you have never coded before, it may seem daunting, even mysterious. But coding is in fact something that anyone can learn to do. It begins with creating instructions for a computer to follow—yet coding is more than plugging in the right symbols to make a computer perform a specific task. Ask any programmer—they will tell you about times they had to get creative to solve unforeseen problems or involve themselves with visual design, clear writing, or fascinating math problems.
What Is Hour of Code?
In 2013, the nonprofit organization Code.org launched the Hour of Code, a nationwide campaign to get all students to not only use technology but also harness it and code for one hour. Code.org encourages educators to celebrate the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week from December 9–15, which is just around the corner.
One influential tool for beginning coders is Scratch, a visual programming language designed for children as young as eight years old but used by programmers of all ages. It’s a completely free resource that was developed by the MIT Media Lab and launched in 2007. It has since been translated into dozens of languages and used in homes, schools, after-school centers, museums, libraries, and colleges around the world.
If you are a middle school teacher who has used Scratch before, then we have an Hour of Code lesson plan for you to freely download and use. And for any educator, no matter your previous experience with coding, MIT’s Scratch website includes hundreds of resources that you can use as Hour of Code activities, including Educator Guides, Scratch Tutorials, and even locations of ScratchEd Educator Meetups.
Whether your kids are tech geeks or just a little curious about how to create digital content, Computer Science Education Week gets everyone in the spirit of coding and learning something new!