In the first week of EDTC300 I looked through the syllabus and weekly plans. Everything was looking pretty good, I was excited about the assignments, until I got to one of the daily topics. Coding. As we crept towards this topic I wondered how challenging it would be and how confused I would get trying to work through trying to code something. Until this point All I had experience with was accidentally getting into the code of my WordPress blog back in ECS 100, getting confused, panicking, then quickly shutting my laptop to get it out of my sight. Back then, I NEVER would have expected to be sharing my Certificate of Completion for a coding program, but here it is!
After our Zoom class, I was stuck between trying out Scratch or using one of the programmed tutorials found at Code.org. When my partner’s brother found out I was doing coding he tried teaching me how to use Scratch. He even sent me a link to the site he used in Computer Science where he learned how to code. After playing around with Scratch I did have an idea of how it worked but was still stuck on how to use some things so I figured I should get a bit more practice before trying it out. I went back to Code.org and decided to do one of the tutorials on building a Star Wars game.
Note: To document our experience with coding we were to use something such as Screencastify or another recording app/extension. I used Screencastify for the first time during this. Somehow I messed up trying to get my microphone on or working well for a couple of the videos so that is another application I will have to work on using.
The tutorial I found was very easy to follow. In this first video you can see that we started by using blocks to code. This was fitting for the grade 5-8 level that the tutorial was aimed towards.
Throughout the tutorial, there were 3 instructional videos explaining the next steps we would be taking. This is the last video in the tutorial. The others were led mostly by the director of the animations of Star Wars The Force Awakens and others who contributed to the production of the movie. This was a nice touch.
I decided to share this final instructional video over the others because the last level of the tutorial was to create your own game. I liked that students who completed this tutorial shared their games in the video, it even gave me an idea for what I would do with mine.
Creating my own game was slightly more challenging, and it could even be worked on a little further I feel. In this last level I was able to explore all of the functions on the tutorial. This took me a little while but it was a lot of fun getting to play around with the codes to create a game that myself and others could play.
The question of whether coding is important or not is a tricky one because I honestly feel that a lot of what students take in school is subjective. For some students, this may not be something they want to learn or will ever need to know. For others, learning coding might be an exciting subject or even lead them to pursuing computer science in the future. Searching through the many options on Code.org I found some tutorials that had other educational topics included, such as one on DNA (which I wanted to try but for some reason my laptop wouldn’t let me open that one). Because I feel as though we should give students many opportunities to show what they have taken out of a lesson, I could see myself including this type of coding in a class. This would provide students who are less successful in some of the traditional testing methods to try out a new method, one where they could express themselves and their learning better.
Want to check out the game I made? You can find it here: https://studio.code.org/c/1156297480
Instructions: Get all of the Puffer Pigs while avoiding the Storm Troopers. Once you get all the Puffer Pigs, catch the Tauntaun to win the game!
Puffer Pigs = +100 points
Storm Trooper = -25 points
Let me know your thoughts!