Thursday, December 19, 2013

Coding - Part 2

This past Thursday, students submitted their work from Khanacademy's Hour of Code. Below captures both their accomplishments and my reflection on the process:

Hello my ASCII 8th graders (ASCII is type of coding, FYI),

         Congrats! You guys were offered a taste of coding and many of you took to its liking! Below you'll see several of your classmates' works (if you didn't share it with me, yet, please do so ASAP and I will send out a 2nd email with yours!) and you can see how each one represents a unique individual. Here is a link to a couple of pics of you coding!

          Now, let's reflect for a bit. You were told that we would be exploring the world of coding. So, for 2 class periods (and some work at home), you learned a new concept (the language of coding to produce images) and a skill (how to code). And you created a digital card!

Now, it will take a wee bit more training in coding to create something more complex, like a video game or a website, but all the cool apps, games, sites... anything that is composed of digital media requires coding... and the coders all started where you did. 

And, you did it ON YOUR OWN!!!! 

Do you understand what that means? Do you get the power that you have? You were able to learn a totally new concept and skill without a teacher or expert telling you what to do and how to do it! That's right! I, know very little about coding. I took some classes in coding, but it never really stuck for me. Yet, I do know a little bit about learning - and as I told you in the beginning of the year, you are able to learn anything you put your mind to.

 The work we have been doing in class - not so much the topics on chemistry - rather, the skills you have been learning: (1) understanding how you learn (2) designing a path to accomplish your academic goals (3) reflecting on the process (4) being persistent in your pursuit (5) experimenting with new methods and technologies (6) working interdependently (7) searching for answers that make sense to YOU - all these skills allowed you to learn how to code ON YOUR OWN!

 I promised you by the end of the year, you would be masters of your own learning and this small project on coding demonstrates how each of you is on that path to becoming that master learner. And that, my students, is the most awesome power for it means no matter what class you take, what teacher you have, what subject you study - you will have the power to learn and be successful. Seeing that come true in each of you (as I am seeing it develop in each of you now) is what fuels me and is why I don't tell people that my job is teaching - I tell them I am following my passion and dreams because I do God's holy work in guiding students (i.e., you all)  how to learn and become contributors to our society.

Well done, my students! I am very proud of you!

- Mr. M.

David's -

Leora's -

For me, the biggest take away was that I was "teaching content" I knew ONLY a little about but because I gave my students the SKILLS they needed to learn, I did not have to be "the sage on stage," but rather the guide on the side. I was on the same learning journey as my students. And guess what? They didn't question or say, "Hey! How could he possibly teach us this stuff?" Instead, we learned together. It was an awesome experience and I would do it again in a heartbeat! Thanks Khanacademy for the opportunity!