Thursday, December 10, 2015

#hourofcode 2015

This year we decided to participate in the #hourofcode as an entire high school. We met as a whole school in the auditorium. As students entered, the robotics class did a demo to show some of the things they have been working on.

The event was kicked off by Dani McAvoy, who works for She spoke to students about breaking the stereotype as well as her passion for coding and how it can help change the world.

"My problem solving did more than solve word problems on paper, it designed Apps, Games, and programmed Robots which helped people and changed the world around me."

Students then went to advisor groups and tried some of the sample programs. They could choose from this list of options.

Some of the favorites:
If students designed a game, they could submit it to a form. Those games are available here. Unfortunately, we didn't allow enough time for completion. I hope students will work on them later. 

We also introduced "Game Amnesty" week. Students can play games from the list of submitted projects. Here are the guidelines:
From December 8 - 12 we will have “Game Amnesty” week.
    • Students must be in a study hall
    • Students should have completed their work for classes before playing.
    • Students may play the games from the “Hour of Code” list only
    • Students need to let their study hall teacher or the adult in charge (think library) know they will be participating
    • Consequences for not following the guidelines will result in loss of computer use for the study hall period and signing the book in the computer lab

We asked for feedback, including whether we should offer Computer Science as a class. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive to offer a course. Other feedback:
  • I thought they were fun! You had to problem solve and really think.
  • It was creative
  • I liked having to create your own adventures.
  • I like how there were different options to pick from.
  • From a teacher: It was amazing how engaged students were

I would definitely do a few things differently next year. I think the kick off needs to be separate from the actual time to code. I could have done a better job of building buzz and promoting Game Amnesty week. It's always a balance of how much information to give out ahead of time and how much to keep a surprise.

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