When we were given the task of coding, I thought this would be a cake-walk of an assignment. I consider myself a fairly techy- person, and will say I was not very intimidated with when faced with the Frozen and Flappy Bird Coding Programs on the Coding Website.
I decided to stick with the Flappy Bird program. It somewhat reminded me of the “video games” from my childhood where you had to blow on the rectangular game before you stuck it into the good old Nintendo slot (don’t pretend you don’t know what I am talking about, we all did it).
When I first started out with the first few coding programs, I will admit I was pretty unimpressed. The top of the screen literally told you which codes to attach, and all I had to do was click a button. As you can see, I whipped through the first code pretty quickly, and this momentum carried throughout the next 5 codes. While I understand that this program is obviously for kids, right now I am currently viewing it as more “practice of following instructions” rather than actually coding (mind you, I am still not 100% what coding all entails, so this could be it for all I know).
(Also, the following links throughout my post will take you to a google doc recording of my coding experience. For the life of me, I could not figure out how to actually save the recordings as files to input- sorry!)
When I reached the fifth stage of coding, I still found it quite easy. They had a few different options of coding you could choose which was interesting. At this time in the coding, you were now able to make a few changes to different aspects of the game, and make it more your own. I honestly didn’t get too crazy with the changes, but it did make the game a little more engaging, and felt like I was actually able to control some aspect of the game other than just clicking.
Flappy Code 8 is what got me. I again entered this stage with the cockiness I had as I flew through the previous 7 stages. I whipped the codes into place and clicked the run button to move onto the next stage. This is when the “Game Ended” pop-up appeared. Seriously? I chucked the codes in the right place, what is the problem? Again, I clicked the run button because in my tech-savvy brain obviously the game had made an error. Nope. The annoying little “Game Ended” box appeared again. Below is a little clip showing you about 1/20 of the time I spent trying to beat this level of code. I honestly have no idea what to do. I tried changing all the codes around, adding more codes and taking way others. All of my attempts were unsuccessful, and after about 20 minutes of trying to get that damn little birdy to fly, I gave up. I am sad to admit, I was defeated by flappy bird.
Overall, I guess I feel like I haven’t had enough experience with coding, or heard enough about it to form my opinion yet. My first impression of it was that it was more like an opportunity for students to follow directions rather than actually create anything. What I did like about coding was how your ability to be creative increased as your progressed. When students reach the higher levels and are able to make changes to the game that they can actually see, that is when I think coding is a wonderful idea.
Again, I am not familiar enough with coding to actually decide on its importance for students. I think technology is growing in the world everyday, and is quickly becoming essential to everyday life. I am not sure if I think coding skills are crucial for students, but I do think having basic technology skills are. I grew up going through school, life and university all without the knowledge of coding and I would say my lack of knowledge did not limit me in any regard. However, while I may not think coding is crucial for participating in society, it does provide other opportunities that I do think are really important. I think coding gives students the opportunities to be creative and to work on inventing and designing different programs. I love this because it has the immediate “action and cause” effect, where students can immediately see the results of what they code. As I was trying to build up my knowledge of what coding was, and why it is important for students to learn, I came across a really wonderful article by Tynker that gave some great ideas on why coding is awesome for kids to learn.
I would love to hear about your opinions of coding, and your first experiences with it! I would be happy to learn some new information and gain understanding of why you love the program!