Recently my class has been working with Code.org with both unplugged and plugged programming. I have found two cool things by using Code.org.
The first cool thing I discovered about code.org was how much my struggling students as well as students with IEP’s love using the program as well as excel with the activities. I find my students with ADHD focusing more with the activities and love the problem solving. Students work hard, love the connection to games and popular media such as Minecraft, Plants and Zombies, and other games. To the students it does not feel like their are problem solving. In addition, it is also a safe place for my students with IEP’s to fail. Many times I find my struggling students getting fed up with things taking longer, or having to redo things more then other students. It also helps my general class understand the concept of failing, finding what they did wrong, and correcting the problem. This has slowly helped them in class understand that it is unrealistic to get things right on the first try, and that it may take a few times to get it right.
The other important discovery I had from code.org is that some students simply do not like it. While a lot of students really enjoyed the experience the first couple times, there is a group of students that sometimes dislike doing the activities. This I find to be ok. There are many students that like the block program, and ask for more difficult challenges, while others get tired of the activities.
I learned from experience by having certain spaced activities that are unplugged and plugged, and to make sure that I space out the activities enough that the class is getting base learning for coding, and allowing my students that really love it, time to explore and challenge themselves, with others chances for other problem solving activities.
I really do love code.org, and believe it is important to emphasize to students that this is a stepping stone and give examples of the massive amount of possibilities that they can unlock by beginning to learn computer programming at such as young age!