How the Hour of Code Can Impact Even the Youngest Learners
Higher Education As the demands of the future workplace expand, so do the skills students must possess. Today, even early learners can embrace and benefit from programming thinking.
The Hour of Code is a global movement held during Computer Science Week each December to provide coding activities that can be completed in an hour. The activities are available for ages 4 to 104 and anyone can host an event. The goal isn’t to teach students everything they need to know about coding — an impossible task to complete in an hour. Instead it’s to show them that coding can be fun and exciting. It also shows teachers how versatile coding lessons can be and how they can work for students of any age.
Early learners can benefit from learning to code by developing critical thinking, collaboration and problem-solving skills. Even kindergarteners can become coders by learning basic processes on computers with free apps like Kodable or resources like Code.org, with age-appropriate robots like Dash & Dot or Sphero, or even completely unplugged with paper activities to teach directions and movement like SitSpots.
Skills beyond coding
Students can work in pairs to solve coding challenges, helping them learn communication and teamwork. As part of learning to code, they will also begin to understand that there are multiple ways to solve a problem. Learning the ins and outs of each platform are less important than learning to think like a programmer and explore solutions from every angle. Students will also learn how to embrace failure as part of the process. Failure to solve the problem on the first try is all part of learning to be a stronger coder.
Educators can help their students of all ages develop lifelong digital literacy skills by learning more about the Hour of Code, hosting their own event, or exploring ways to include programming thinking in their curriculum all year long.
Photo caption: Students teaching legislators how to program robots at the Texas State Capitol as part of an Hour of Code event in 2017.