Tuesday, December 15, 2015

What did Hour of Code look like in Vermont?

What did Hour of Code look like in Vermont?

I was fortunate enough to get a real birdseye view as I rallied Vermont schools into showcasing their participation in a special site I set up a few years ago especially for this purpose http://thinkaboutcode.blogspot.com/

Thanks to today's amazing technology and lots of Verizon cell data (75 gigs) I spent most of last week collaborating with my Vermont peers from about 3000 miles away. It was a fabulous week.

Hundreds of kids from around Vermont built their awareness (and confidence) with computer science! Over two hundred Vermont schools signed up to participate in Code.org's Hour of Code event. Check out our showcase of Vermont participation at http://thinkaboutcode.blogspot.com/ or get a really quick two min glimpse into what Hour of Code looked like in Vermont with the following video.

And for a closer  look, check out the collection of pictures you all submitted directly to Vermont’s Hour of Code site in our 2015 Gallery.

Here is a Storified collection of the tweets we found from #vted and #hourofcode.

Many of Vermont educators created your own multimedia stories. They were AWESOME!   I added them on the Featured Stories page.

Some schools had guest speakers come directly to their school, while others were able to interact with guest speakers remotely as made possible by today’s  Video Conferencing technology (such as Google Hangout or Join.me). Thank you to Peter Drescher and the Agency of Education for recruiting some great role models for our students to interact with.   The great thing about this  guest speaker series is that you can view the archive (or parts of them)  anytime that works in your instruction.   Snippets ranging from advice to girls from female coders to troubleshooting excerpts can give students a glimpse into the world of coding outside our schools.

Some schools participated in making the Robot Rodeo Announcement  as an opportunity to continue coding beyond and hour of code. From January to May, Vermont schools will be hosting (and training through code) a fleet of fun codable robots in preparation for an upcoming Robot Rodeo.  If you know a Vermont school that might be interested in hosting a robot, or know someone who would want to sponsor a robot, check out

And if you are an educator who would like to grow your own ‘ability to code’, why not do it together through the upcoming January course (online) at Marlboro College - CREATE WITH CODE, EDU621D.W16 designed for educators with Little to No experience to gain confidence with code and how to integrate it in their classroom. Marlboro  College Graduate School  CREATE WITH CODE, EDU621D.W16

And a big CONGRATULATIONS to Chamberlin School of South Burlington, Vermont for their $10,000 award from Code.org.

GREAT JOB Vermont!  
Note: If your a Vermont school and want to see your specific school’s submission to the http://thinkaboutcode.blogspot.com/ ,  just click on the hyperlink tag with your school’s name.  Some of the submission had no names, so I tagged them “NEWS”.

You can simply click on each day’s submission tag.


Monday, December 07, 2015

Vermont Hour of Code 2015 - Day 1

As our Bluebird bus drove by mesas, cacti and other desert landscape on our way from New Mexico to Tucson, I spent the day gazing outside my  the passenger window (my mobile office)  while pursuing one of my passions- fueling innovation and creativity in our schools. 

My day was filled with opportunities to encourage students and teachers to participate in Hour of Code week. The day started by helping Peter Drescher from the Agency of Education facilitate a guest speaker through video conference with the fourth grade students at Chamberlin School.

Megan Harney from Midas Education explained to the class that computer programming was all about conditionals and loops.  She helped the students think about different things in their lives that used conditionals and loops ranging from deciding on whether to use an umbrella to shoveling snow. 

The students chimed in with their own question. One student asked for advice on getting more girls to like coding, explaining that she herself LOVED programming.   Megan’s advice was spot on -  Just do it, and the more you do it, the more confidence you will feel. The advice was encouraging!  However, Megan did go on to say that all the programmers she works with are male.

You can watch Megan Harney's complete guest visit to Chamberlin School here

After their video conference with their guest speaker, the fourth graders from Chamberlin school  ran off to do some of their own coding using Scratch.  Their goal was to complete Google’s CS-First’s Hour of Code Lesson - Sailing the High Seas to learn how to code using Scratch and then to use a Makey Makey  to control the action of the waves and to trigger some suspicion noises in their storyline.

I was fortunate enough to collaborate with Cali Flickinger on her Hour of Code plans, which lead to my creating this Hour of Code Mash-up of three of my favorite resources:  Makey Makey, Scratch, and CS-First. 

The rest of the day I watched new photos emerged on  Vermont’s Hour of Code site - http://thinkaboutcode.blogspot.com         

See these pictures in the Vermont Hour of Code Gallery

and updates on Twitter.  So proud of my Vermont colleagues for participating in this event and being part of the Vermont school presence in this fantastic event.   Go Vermont

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Hour of Code MashUp - Makey Makey, Scratch, CS-First

See Step by Step Lesson at https://goo.gl/6ZBYTT
Recently I received a help request from a colleague who was preparing for the upcoming Hour of Code activities during Computer Science Education Week.  My colleague wanted to use a Makey Makey during the week and wanted my help getting started using the Makey Makey to learn about code.  Overwhelmed from the wealth of resources, she asked “Where do I start? Hour of Code is next week, and I have no experience.”  I created this Hour of Code Mashup for Makey-Makey, Scratch, and CS-First step by step lesson with her (and others like her in mind).  If you try it out,  please reach out with feedback and ideas for improving it or to share your student creations.

In my opinion Hour of Code should raise awareness for students AND teachers of learning opportunities and motivate us to explore these further.  An HOUR of Code (or two) is not the end goal.  Therefore I have created an activity that blends three of my favorite resources together to have students experience CREATING with Code combining the  digital and physical world.  I hope that after this activity students will be eager for more and pursue exploring these amazing opportunities.

This site is filled with ideas, lessons, guidelines for creating and inventing with Makey Makey.  
This site is filled with opportunities for student to IMAGINE, CREATE, PLAY, SHARE, REFLECT and LEARN. Their is a wealth of resources for students and teachers who want to learn with SCRATCH.

If you are looking for a Ready-Made Step by Step guide to teaching students computer science with SCRATCH, this is the place.  It includes lesson plans, videos, lesson plans, handouts, badges, certificates, and everything you need to implement theme based learning opportunities.  There is even a teacher dashboard to help you keep track of self directed student progress.

If you check out my Hour of Code Mashup using Makey Makey, Scratch, and CS-First Step by Step Lesson, I hope you'll share what you make, how you used it, or send feedback to make it better.