LCL

[Week 2 Reflection] Thinking about Coding


#84

I experience frustration too with lots of technology - windows 7 felt so much more intuitive than Windows 10 which seems to have taken away control from the user by hiding things or renaming them. My car windows won’t work in heat because they are electronic now and no manual override. I tend to draw by hand rather than try to produce it onscreen- I don’t have the time or interest in refining my cad skills.

I used an educational coding program (Purplemash) with 9y olds who jumped right in and didn’t want to work through all the warm-up learning puzzles but did a few then went for the ‘free space’ to do their own projects. I let them (blind leading the blind). Golly did we all feel frustrated. I hadn’t realised, and The children couldn’t grasp, that they only had so much ‘freedom’ in the tools (coding). So they needed to know the little that was possible before they could think of a project that could be carried out within those parameters. When you have played a lot with Lego, you realise that you can only approximate a circle and that right angled shapes are easiest. You build accordingly and can do amazing sculptures with motivation and time.

Scratch still has limitations and specific ways of thinking have to be followed, but it is much more open than the program above.
But even more open is the skillset we already have, because we are familiar with it and can locate tools and know how to use them.

I find lots of children in classes feel this frustration too, and what I lament is the way school (UK) can’t allow enough time for kids who need it to build that familiarity with tools (physical, thought, coding, whatever).


#85

Hi khilley
I totally agree with you on all of these points. I learnt with Scratch Junior and saw Scratch being done in schools. It blew my mind and at the same time overwhelmed me. Now I continue to practise so that im fluent. My wish is to be so fluent I can be creative without using the recipes (instructions) all of the time. I also loved the Lego brick analogy.


#86

I am new to coding . I am impressed by some of the work I have seen in the junior areas in making games and narratives. Children being able to use coding without assistance, cards or scripts. This applies to Scratch Junior and Scratch.
I keep trying different ways to improve myself and my aim is to be like them - to be able to cook (ie code ) without using recipes . I want to be fluent to be able to integrate it into different aspects of teaching, blending it into the curriculum


#87

Wow.
It was my first time playing on Scratch. I thought it was going to be easy and very user-friendly since kids use it all the time to create amazing creative forms of expression. I found it tricky to navigate, and because I didn’t have a lot of time to read all of the tips I found myself stumped on how to do something as simple as changing the colour of my letters. Perhaps this is a lesson on how to let go of the details. I was trying to find a ‘help’ button, or ‘search’ button, but had no luck. Practice is the only way I’m going to feel comfortable using the platform. On a positive note, I do think my name animation is pretty cool :slight_smile:


#88

I enjoy using scratch and so do students. It is a non threatening approach and while it can be frustrating at times, it allows for a variety of projects. Especially with younger students, typing code can be challenging and discouraging. While Scratch does have limits, students enjoy combing the different blocks to make their own creating.


#89

I have a computer diploma through one of our universities here in SA, and one of my subjects was coding (Delphi and C++). I’ve also done a little bit of database design, hardware, user interfaces, html, etc. Basic things (probably old/obsolete by now :slight_smile: ). Done some courses in php, java scripting, etc. through the years. My husband is a software developer with years of experience. He loves it. I like it, but not like he does. He has passion, I don’t. I did however find Scratch easy and enjoyable to use with my background. I love figuring out how a program works, make it user friendly. Using a written programme to its full possibilities.

I’ve seen interest on our boys’ faces, but not passion. My youngest has used Scratch a little bit, before, but I had to read to him as he couldn’t yet read English at the time (it’s our second language). He wasn’t interested in digging and finding out for himself how to do things. He wanted to tell me, and I had to do it - struggle through code, figure out how to make something work. He was more interested in playing the games that people created, see what he could do with those games. Any new game he buys, the first thing he does is to see whether he can create his own world/map and characters. My oldest wasn’t interested at all. Not even to see what I’ve done with my name, but he is more of a nature/animal boy.

As much as I think they need to know a basic level of coding for their future, you can’t force an interest where there isn’t any. I don’t know how to bring the two together.


#90

I think coding is an activity to understand the world by creating.
It’s just like literature.
The study of AI is an activity to understand human beings by coding.
It’s just like philosophy.


#91

I remember the first time I wrote a line of code, it was by using basic, and I made my name go across the screen. Years passed and I finally picked up coding again with some HTML and web design classes. I have had so much use of those classes, I like the immediate cause and effect, just like Scratch provides you with. I am currently teaching coding to K-3 students, we work a lot on computational thinking and drawing parallels to how they use “coding” in all aspects of their school and lives. For example they use algorithms when they write their how to books, they use “decomposition” to break down the steps and provide enough details, pattern recognition, abstraction and foremost grit, the process of trial and error until you get it right. I have so far been using the curriculum provided by code.org, but I am looking forward to incorporate more scratch based projects!


#92

My experience with Scratch so far has been fun and challenging. I started learning coding through the Hour of Code by Code.org. Scratch and Code.org have many similarities but they also have multiple differences. I am always looking at the ways code is being presented to children, I want it to be fun but also meaningful. Teaching students the vocabulary of code can be challenging but when we use it in a context they understand they are so quick to pick up on the concepts. My students need this more than ever and I feel it is very important for me to present it in a way that they feel invested in the learning. I am excited about this class it has been fun and meaningful for me.


#93

Experiencing and playing with Scratch has totally changed how I think about coding. In the beginning, coding was this big, scary concept that was very fuzzy and grey when I thought about it. I didn’t know what it was, why it was useful to learn and do, or how in the world I could apply it to teaching. I didn’t understand the point of coding. But after jumping in and immersing myself in Scratch, it’s become a lot more clear. Coding is simply digital literacy, another skill to teach students how to present their knowledge, problem solve and demonstrate their creativity. It’s a 21st century forum where we can both learn growth mindset and teach others about any subject.


#94

That’s awesome! You can also use Microbit with Scratch. Check out all of the Scratch extensions you can try out: http://scratchx.org/


#95

Scratch reminded me of why I love coding. The freedom to explore and find means of manipulating objects till you get the result you wanted. If you don’t get what you had imagined, rethink your process and try again - there is no cost but your time and patience. Not only that, you are the director of your program whether that is animating your name through scratch or creating an immersive VR experience in Unity.

I think the creative element of learning how to code is lost, but even if it’s not front-end, coding is creative. The way you tackle any problem in coding is inherently creative. You are manipulating structures and variables and navigating methods.

The only frustration with Scratch for me was the limitations. But as it is aimed for kids, I understand that complicating it may introduce more harm than good.


#96

I think the Scratch approach to coding is excellent for those who enjoy coding. I find coding exasperating and alien to the way I usually think things through. I am more apt to be thinking creatively while writing, cooking, or planning lessons for my students. I know that I learn new things best when I can work along with someone, and, for those who have the time for online interactions, I realize that Scratch provides a remarkable opportunity to learn from others. Currently, I am trying to fit this course into a very busy time, when teaching and family life are demanding priorities, so online interactions are not easy to fit in.

Trying to work with Scratch on my own, I often thought about how directions can be misleading to my kindergarten students. I may think my directions are exemplars of clarity, but time and again, I will learn that they can be misconstrued for a number of reasons. When starting on a word to animate, I spent a fair amount of time figuring out how to find letters, not realizing they were called sprites.

I have come away with a heightened respect for the master coders. I use and appreciate so many things that are the result of serious coding, and I can begin to see how difficult and demanding it is. I am thankful that many people are willing to put in the time and creative effort for sophisticated coding.

For myself, I do want to try coding again, and I believe Scratch could be the best platform to get started.


#97

Thanks for your comments. I currently work on a research project were we try ty integrate coding across subjects. So maybe, if we succeed, children will learn language while playing with code :wink:


#98

Using programs such as scratch has not changed the way I think about coding. It is the ABC’s of learning for learners today. Coding allows for children to really plan out and explore a step by step process of doing things and allows them explore how coding enables so many devices to work in our world today. There are endless possibilities for children to explore and create. It reaffirms my believe that all students should be exposed to coding in today’s world.


#99

The word coding always seems to evoke visions of daunting tasks, written in languages only few can understand, and even fewer undertake. Dealing with Scratch is an awesome reminder that coding is meant to be accessible and successful for everyone. I love reaching a point of frustration (to some degree), but then scrolling through the menus looking for alternative blocks that could mean the same command I’m trying to achieve, but maybe from a different lens. It feels like ultimate victory when the one “simple” command finally works…whether it’s a colour change, sound or action. I’m hoping I see the same perseverance and adjusted mind-frames in my students when I introduce it to them!


#100

This is great! Exactly the types of ideas and resources I was looking for. Many thanks, and I can’t wait to try this out with kids.


#101

I must admit, building my animated name took way longer than I thought it would. I was focused on completing a product, thus the coding was tedious to me. I did not experience play (my favorite P) during this activity. Time to mess around is super productive when there is a small base upon which to anchor play. Perhaps this will become the base on which I come to know what other describe as a love for coding?


#102

I would credit starting to program in Scratch about 7 years ago with helping me to start think about coding as an expressive medium, much in the way that Mitch Resnick does. I had taken almost enough CS courses in college to warrant a double major, but all of the assignments and projects that I had done had felt like either ‘problem sets’ or ‘big projects’.

It was only through messing around and playing with Scratch that I began to realize that you can just sort of sit down and tinker with code. Now I think of my Scratch account as more of a sketchbook where I have half-formed and developing ideas that I’m exploring. I don’t always develop an idea into a full project. It is sort of like sketching or doodling in code.

I even find that I will be wandering around and see something or have an idea or question pop into my head and I’ll make a mental note to model or create that in Scratch later. I’ve even been known to start a project and just give it a name, recording what I want to go back and do later. I think I’ve heard folks at the Scratch conference talk about this idea of developing a Scratch (or programmer’s) brain or lens on the world and it is something I aspire to help kids develop.


#103

Using Scratch has clarified the coding process…
Historically, I have used and taught programming with Flowol… This flowchart style using shapes linked by arrows followed a logical sequence and programs could be written, downloaded to an interface control box and then used to control outputs, (bulbs, buzzers etc.) in real models.
Scratch is similar but the drag & connect system is more simple and easier for children to manipulate.