“Everyone should know how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”
– Attributed to Steve Jobs
On Wednesday’s I have two of my four Stage Three classes, and last Wednesday (September 2nd) I had one of them that consisted of only seven students. Three were absent, four were at a School Leaders Day and the others were at a robotics training day. When their class teacher advised me of this, I knew this was a perfect opportunity to experiment with some coding.
One of the apps on the school app list is Hopscotch, an app that teaches users to code in order to create a variety of games, simulations and anything else their imaginations and coding skills can come up with. With only seven students in the classroom it did not seem a valuable use of time to give those students the lesson I had been planning, given that more than half the class was not present. Knowing that those at the robotics day would be leading the class in robotics design and coding over the coming weeks and also being aware that Stage Three had not done any coding up to this point, I decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to give the students I had an open time to experiment with Hopscotch.
I asked them to experiment and see what they could create, to watch whatever tutorial videos they could access within the app, which seem to be plentiful, and the students found a seat, and were engaged immediately. They were problem solving; one student identified that the instructions in a tutorial video she had just watched were not quite right, based upon the results, and was able to identify the correct coding to use to correct the error, they were collaborating, helping each other with ideas, problems and solutions and they had fun. We spent fifteen minutes at the end talking about what they had learned, the challenges they faced and how they overcame those challenges as well as giving them a chance to show off what they had created with their new coding skills.
I also asked them to Tweet, via my Classroom Teacher account @MrEmsClass, something that they had learned. I felt that this would give them an opportunity to take some ownership over their learning as well as force them to crystallise their thinking into something concrete, a task which they seemed to genuinely enjoy.
I include below some videos of their various creations which I have hosted via my YouTube Channel
I would love to hear from anyone else who is doing coding, and whether they have used Hopscotch or something different. As always, thank you for reading.