What is coding and why is it important?
In this post I will not be talking about Genetic Coding, I will be talking about my experience with computer science coding. According to the Oxford Dictionary, coding is the process of assigning a code to something for the purposes of classification or identification. Almost all of the things that we can do on our smartphones, computers, and even physical daily lives is because of coding.
This can be quite important for young children to learn as it:
- Is another language for children to learn. It teaches them how to communicate with the computer and how to think logically
- Fosters creative thinking
- Enhances mathematical skills
- Improves academic writing skills
- Helps students be more confident in their problem-solving skills
- Helps students build/develop resilience
- Increases motivation in school
- Encourages teamwork, collaboration, and mutual assistance
- Improves self-esteem and sense of competence
- Increases the ability to find information
- Enhances reasoning, organization, and planning skills
- And much more!
Here are some additional links if you are interested in learning more about coding:
- What is Coding?
- Why is programming important?
- Why learn to code?
- Benefits of learning coding
- 14 benefits of coding for kids and students
- Why all students should learn how to code in elementary school
What application did I use?
The application that I had the chance to play around with was called Code.org. This website is a nonprofit website that expands the access to computer science in schools. Their vision is that “every student in every school has the opportunity to learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra”.
Some other free coding websites that you can also try out are”
- The Code Player
- And dozens more if you just google “free coding websites”.
For my first coding experience I had created a “Flappy Bird” game. To start off, I had to create an account. The account is free and you can specify if you are a teacher or a student on the site.
After creating my account, I was able to look around on the site and pick a project that had peaked my interest.
After selecting a project, an instructional video had popped up on my screen and had begun playing. It talked about what the website was, what coding was, and just some basic prior information that was needed before starting. The video was only about a minute and a half (1:33 to be exact) so it wasn’t painful to sit through. Once you finished the video, an “X” would pop up in the corner so you could leave the video and begin to code.
A guided tutorial had started before you could code on your own. Instead of calling it a tutorial, they called it puzzles. You had to complete all ten (10) of the puzzles before being allowed to begin your project. These puzzles gave you different scenarios and taught you how to use the application. I really appreciated having this guided tutorial as it showed me how exactly to create the game and without it I most definitely would not have been able to figure out how to create flappy bird.
The tutorials had also allowed you to play the game with the little coding you had done. This allowed you to see what each of the codes has done to your game which is awesome! You had to play the game on each “puzzle” before you were allowed to move onto the next step.
Once all the puzzles had been completed, you could create your own game! By sliding the codes onto the screen I was able to create my very own flappy bird game. Check it out!
I had absolutely loved my first coding experience. At first I was completely nervous because I had no prior computer science skills, but after having watched and worked through the guided tutorials I had some confidence in myself.
Being able to create the game that I wanted was great! I created my own rules and was able to layout the game how I had wanted. In a typical flappy bird game, you lose the game when you hit an object or the ground. This was something I did not like in the original game, and I was able to adapt to that.
In my flappy bird game, you can hit an obstacle but it will bring you back down to zero points. The only way you can “die” on the game, is when you hit the ground. I had done this because whenever I had played the original game, I would become extremely frustrated with myself when I died. In my new game, I find myself getting less frustrated and I am able to enjoy myself more while playing the game. I had sent the link to my family and a couple of my friends and they had really enjoyed my game as well, which made me have more confidence in my coding skills.
After completing my first coding experience I know two (2) things:
- Coding is very beneficial to students and I will be incorporating this into my classroom as often as I can and
- I am now addicted to coding and will be creating more games soon!
Thanks for reading!