The Frustrations of Coding

This week during our ECMP355 class, we were introduced to coding.  We were introduced to two resources: the Hour of Code and Scratch.  For this week’s blog post, we were asked to create something on Scratch and share it! After exploring it for a little bit in class, I was excited to begin coding.  Little did I know, coding is a lot harder than it sounds.  Here is my final project, which I spend too much time than I’m willing to admit.  I decided to create an underwater scene, with fish swimming.  I intended to make a scene where the fish were swimming and the shark eats one of the fish.  However, when you look at the project, that clearly did not happen! I was left feeling very frustrated at some points because the fish simply did not do what I wanted them to do.  I would want them to turn on an angle and somehow, they would turn upside down.  At some points in creating this, I just had to stop and do something else as it was that frustrating.  I am a little bit embarrassed, but here is what I ended up with:

https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/152436523/

So after all of this frustration, the question is why code? Do students need to go through the frustration of coding?

The answer, I believe is YES!  I know that coding has been introduced in many classrooms and many classes take part in the hour of code!  I found this article, Add Coding to Your Elementary Curriculum… Right Now  and it explains that it is excellent if young students learn how to code as it teaches them to value computers as a tool rather than just something to play on.  Students will begin to understand how to make computers do useful things.  Further, the article states that not only will students learn these computer skills, but coding builds the following skill sets:

In reflecting upon my short experience with coding above, I can see how I was building my logical thinking skills.  I did a lot of if, then thinking.  In terms of problem solving, when I did make a mistake (which was quite often), I had to figure out how to get back to where I wanted to go.  Coding definitely builds one’s persistence.  I was ready to quit, however I continued to persist at the task and was eventually somewhat successful!  If students worked on coding together, there would be elements of collaboration and communication.

One of the potential problems that I thought about when it comes to coding is the problem of the classroom not having enough technology for all students to have their own to code.  Obviously one of the solutions is for students to work together to code.  In doing more research, I found a great article 15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code (Even Without a Computer).  On this website there are resources that are broken down into age groups categories for tools that teach coding.  Some of them are apps, or online, while others are not.  For example, Robot Turtle is a board game that teaches young children the fundamentals of coding.  Code Monkey Island is another board game for older students (9+) that teaches coding.  I found this great video on the board game:

Overall, I believe there is great merit in students learning to code.  Since our society is becoming more technological, it is important to teach our students the skills that they need.  One of these skills is the skill of coding.

 

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