Thursday, December 3, 2015


A few weeks ago, I learned about a subscription box that teaches kids to code. On the website I learned the company was started by a couple of dads, who use to work at Google,  to chase their dreams and build stuff for their kids. They created Bitsbox!

In celebration of Computer Science Education week they had a sign up for teachers to try it for free! When I signed up, I also signed up for their news letter. Yesterday I got an email with a great explanation of what coding is, exactly.

Here is what I learned " Programming is the act of writing a computer program, and computer programs are written in code. Because of this, many people say "coding" instead of "programming", but they mean the same thing. You'll sound cooler if you say "coding"." To learn more visit their site.

Exploring More Code Options - ISTE 2015

In my prior ISTE post, I explained how I will work to implement the Hour of Code and's courses into classrooms  I work with.

While I think is great, and I will almost alway start with it, there are other options for our students. Erin Schiller and I, decided to explore more of these options and create a course in Schoology with what we found. We are still creating the course, but it will be done by December 12.  IF you would like to try it out after December 12, please email or tweet at me! We are co-leading a preconference workshop "Code Camp" at Ties and running it through this course.

We are creating the course as a guided experience. Once educators complete a task in Schoology, a new folder will be opened for them with their next task. All of the tasks are created to be done with a colleague or two. We feel that by working with others through these new topics, a deeper level of learning will occur. Educators will also need to provide proof of each task completion by turning in an assignment. While people will be turning an end product, we will have more of an emphasis on the learning process and experience and not as much on an end result.

Here are the e three task cards I created for participants to try and share their understanding.

The first task card gets people working together. Two educators will work together to pair program and complete four puzzles in any Hour of Code tutorial from's website. They will take a screenshot of their last puzzle showing they completed at least 4 puzzles.

The second activity is low tech. First, a group of teachers will watch a video about "perseverance." Then they will have access to directions to a lesson about building a foundation. They will work together to build a product out of toothpicks and gumdrops that can support a book for 30 seconds. They will take a picture of their product and post it to Schoology.

The last activity I pulled in involves using a Sphero. Teachers will work through the first Macrolab lesson provided by SPRK. They will learn how to program the Sphero to adjust time, distance, and speed.  I will have one with me during the workshop for people to use. If people complete this activity on their own, they can still download the app and explore.

My hope is to help other educators explore some tools that are available to them that they can use in their classroom to help students understand how to problem solve, collaborate, and create.