Coding is not only for adults working IT. Coding runs the computers that facilitate everything we do. And we need more people coding. Just ask the experts…

Bill Gates (Microsoft): Learning to write programs stretches your mind, and helps you think better, creates a way of thinking about things that I think is helpful in all domains.

Richard Branson (Virgin): Whether we’re fighting climate change or going to space, everything is moved forward by computers, and we don’t have enough people who can code.

Jeff Wilke (Amazon.com): Coders change the world. They build new, amazing things faster than ever before. Anyone with imagination can learn to write code.

Dick Costolo (Twitter): If you can program a computer, you can achieve your dreams. A computer doesn’t care about your family background, your gender, just that you know how to code.

Ron Conway (Angel Investor): Coders are the life blood of innovation.

If coding is that critical a skill and if there is that much demand for people who know how to code, then teaching coding from a young age should be a great advantage for our students. Coding is actually an accessible, cool way for our students to become producers of technology.

During the week of Dec. 8th – 14th, IICS held the Hour of Code – a worldwide event (for information about this annual global happening, please view this padet presentation or visit hourofcode.org)

That week, different classes did different activities related to coding. Primary classes engaged in coding that related to their units at the level of the students’ knowledge; in some cases they had physical coding exercises (not involving a computer) where a student coder would read out specific, sequential directions to another student for them to act out. This helped students conceptualize how coding actually tells a computer what to do. Meanwhile, advanced coders in Secondary had a special training workshop with visiting IT expert Stephen Drake.

Here is some feedback from Grade 3 and 4 teachers, who were glad they participated in the Hour of Code, had learned valuable things about coding, and would continue doing coding lessons in class in the future.

“The students really connected with the games – Angry Birds, Mario, etc.. Games made it easier for students to grasp the idea of coding. The students ask for coding lessons all the time!” – Grade 3 teacher

“The students were exposed to the basic ideas of coding commands. They certainly benefited from the problem solving that it entailed. There was a lot of trial and error and they really enjoyed the activities, so now they have a positive association with coding. The students were quicker than I was to solve some of the problems (I love it when that happens, and so do they)! I was surprised at how well the concepts of coding were introduced through the activities — the sequencing of commands, the embedding of scripts, etc.” – Grade 3 teacher

“The Hour of Code gave the students an opportunity to understand how computer programs are made. It created great excitement amongst the children to know that it is a simple process. Many of them were excited at the prospect of taking further courses to teach them more about coding. It surprised me:

1. How easy it was for the students to access
2. How excited they were by the tasks
3. The awareness it gave them about computer programming
4. How completely engaged students were in their coding tasks
5. What great questions they asked to their peers”
–Grade 4 teacher

Photos and video by Primary Tech Integration Specialist, Claire Wachowiak