While 2015 wasn’t the first year that OCDE participated in Hour of Code, Turner said that “every year the importance of the event grows, as things like the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and STEM become a part of what we do.”
Hour of Code activities are self-guided. There are tutorials that work on PCs, smartphones, tablets and even some that require no computer at all.
For schools that don’t have a device for each student, Hour of Code recommends having students work in pairs, using a projected screen, or using tutorials that don’t require a computer.
New tutorials feature “Star Wars,” Minecraft, Angry Birds and Anna and Elsa from “Frozen.” Turner said that because these tutorials “are part of our current culture, students make an instant connection once they start to code.”
Hour of Code “is a tool for something that touches our lives every day – technology,” he said. “Computer science creates pathways for students’ futures, whether it’s just a hobby or a career.”
OCDE has built upon Hour of Code at the secondary level by integrating coding into existing classes, such as science, physics or computer science, and by pushing to create more computer science classes, Turner said.
“At the elementary level, we’re including coding in activities such as robotics,” he said. Many schools have robotics teams that build robots that can do things like complete an obstacle course, and teams from different schools compete with each other.