Ohhhh Scratch. What an interesting website. This week we were learning a little bit about coding in class and the whole concept was totally new to me. I have heard about coding before but I never learned anything beyond it’s a computer thing. I have never had any interest in learning how to code so I just never bothered to involve myself with it. So this week when we were supposed to spend time coding, I was literally starting from scratch on a website called Scratch.
After completing my first Scratch project, I’m not really feeling a sense of pride or accomplishment, to be honest. I was really just playing around with the program, trying to get a feel for what it was all about. You can check out my sad attempt at a code here.
After using Scratch, I’m honestly not entirely sure what I learned. I felt like I did a lot of exploring that led to happy accidents. I learned that coding is hard, especially for someone with absolutely ZERO previous experience. I did not really understand some of the codes or prompts to use them properly in my “scratch”. That is why my sprites are just spinning at various speeds and bouncing along in different directions. I did learn how to draw a background, though, like let’s be real; how fabulous is my ocean scene backdrop. My seaweed along the bottom is rockin, just like my fish! Overall, I learned that I need to learn plenty more about coding if I ever plan to use it in the classroom. My understanding of the concept and the execution needs to drastically increase or we will have a situation where the blind is leading the blind when trying to code. AH!
I think Scratch is a pretty good website for kids to experience coding. It is a bit frustrating at times, especially when you cannot achieve a certain action in your code. I think that is where knowledge about coding would come in handy. Before allowing kids to go and explore this tool, I think it would be very beneficial to give them a quick run-down about the various tabs and actions to avoid serious frustration. I don’t think Scratch is a starting block for learning to code, I believe it would be a fabulous building block once a basic knowledge about coding is achieved. Maybe trying out Code.org and completing an Hour of Code first would be ideal. When I explored Code.org, I found it way less frustrating and easy to get the hang of. All in all, I do think Scratch is a good place to go for some kid-friendly coding practice. It is colorful, creative and very visual. The combination of these three things allows for students to use their imagination and really engage with what they are creating. It is definitely a fun way to get into coding and to teach students that coding is not just a bunch of boring computer words (like I previously believed up until this week…)
I’m not entirely sure what I think about the importance of coding. Growing up I was never exposed to it and I’m functioning pretty well in this growing digital age (I think…) However, as we increasingly rely on and use technology for more and more things, an expanded understanding of how writing code works would certainly be beneficial. I also think that learning to code will teach children how to think rationally and logically as they work through a certain code. Writing complicated code is not something that I value in elementary education, however getting a brief taste of coding would certainly not be a negative thing. I believe that there more important things that children of younger ages need to be learning before coding but what do I know really??
What do you think? Is coding something that we should be placing a heavier emphasis on in our classrooms?
Until next time,