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Start with Baby Steps and Sail Into Coding

Dr. Fecich on computer

In honor of Computer Science Education Week on December 6-12, I decided to post about some coding websites to help get you started on your journey to code and program.

But first, let’s start with the basics:

1. Mindset: Anyone can code – that’s right! YOU can learn to code. A mindset is a powerful tool; start to think positive thoughts and have a can-do attitude you can learn to code! You CAN do this! You don’t need any prerequisite skills to learn to code.  I learned this skill during a stem camp that I attended a few years back with my good friends Kelsey and Nicole. At first, I was super intimidated by the word coding. But once I jumped right in and tried something new, I was encouraged and inspired to keep going, and soon I was sailing!

 

2. Keep it simple: Coding doesn’t’ have to be complicated. At first, just think about boiling a task down to simple steps and take one small step at a time. Think of Bill Murray in What about Bob he takes a baby step each step of the way I encourage you to do the same.

 

 

3. Get a group together: Coding is great when you can get a group of friends together (virtually of course) to code together. Start a coding challenge and encourage everyone to try their hand at coding. Each semester in my college course, introduction to educational technology we do an hour of code (well more like ½ hour of code) as a class. We see as a class who can get the farthest but most importantly, what coding taught us beyond HTML and JAVA. Coding goes beyond C++ it teaches us perseverance, trying again, reworking, editing, trying something new, and pushing forward.

 

Alright, so we have everything we need right? With an open mind, we are going to take small steps and find friends to go on the coding journey with us. Now all we need is an internet connection – right? WRONG! You can start learning to code with unplugged activities – here are a few to get you started:

·         https://code.org/curriculum/unplugged

·         https://csunplugged.org/en/

·         https://hourofcode.com/us/learn?platform=no-computers

Ok, we did our unplugged or printable activities now let’s get into some coding on the computer – so now we will need that good ol’ internet connection. Connected? Good let’s check out these resources to get started:

·         https://hourofcode.com/us

·         https://www.kodable.com/

·         https://www.tynker.com/

·         https://codakid.com/#codakid_promo

·         https://studio.code.org/courses

·         https://scratch.mit.edu/

·         https://www.scratchjr.org/

Perhaps you want to take coding off the screen into your hands? Well, then you gotta put some fun and easy-to-use coding toys for all ages on your teacher wishlist! These coding toys are great for beginner to more advanced coders and can become more complex as you hone your coding skills (spoiler alert...I have a robot or two under the tree for me).

·         https://www.playosmo.com/en/coding/

·         https://www.makewonder.com/robots/dash/

·         https://ozobot.com/

·         https://www.fisher-price.com/en-us/product/think-learn-code-a-pillar-twist-gfp25

·         https://www.learningresources.com/media/botley/

·         https://sphero.com/

·         https://www.littlebits.cc/welcome

 

Additional resources

·         https://www.sfecich.com/post/no-dream-is-too-big-getting-started-with-stem-featuring-ms-robotics

·         https://districtadministration.com/teach-science-stem-activities-coding-for-special-education-students/

Posted:  15 December, 2020
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Author: Samantha Fecich

Dr. Samantha Fecich is a professor of education, author, and the host of EduMagic, a podcast for future teachers. She teaches preservice teachers at Grove City College, where she has the honor and the...

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