Alright! This past week has been a busy one, and boy has it gone by fast! With that in mind, I thought that I better get busy and tell you what I have been up to in ECMP 355. Oh, and I wouldn’t say that it has caused me to go bananas..but perhaps I am now addicted to them!?
Coding in the classroom was the topic for this week, and it turned out that I loved it! Just so that you get an idea of what coding is, check out this video.
First of all, the reason I say that I may have become addicted to bananas is because the code game that I was playing was CodeMonkey. The objective of this game was to move the monkey around in order to collect all the bananas on the screen in as little moves as possible, using code. As I played, I quickly realized that coding can seem very simple, but it can get very complex as well. How far you want to go with it, is up to you and I am happy to say that I completed the free version of CodeMonkey for Hour of Code at code.org!
Another thing that I learned from doing this was that there is a lot of thinking before doing going on here. It is not just a press the button and it happens type of deal. Coding is writing instructions for what you want to happen. It is actually kind of like lesson and unit planning. You start with the end in mind and then, plan how you will get there. You have to plan out what you want your monkey to do, before you press go.
Playing CodeMonkey also brought many ideas of how this game can be used in the classroom and therefore, I think it would be important to use with students. The first thing that comes to mind for me, is teaching students to break things down into small steps (task analysis). Coding fits directly with learning to write procedural texts – first this, then that. While trying to complete the codes for the different challenges, it quickly became apparent that mathematics was a prevalent theme in this game as well. This could include introducing students to positive and negative numbers, angles/degrees, as well as measuring and estimating distances.
Below is a combination of several screen casts that I took throughout playing CodeMonkey. This will hopefully allow you to see what coding looks like as well as the potential it has for being incorporated into the classroom.