Friday, 25 November 2016

Are you up to the challenge of the Hour of Code™? It is as simple as this...

Are you up to the challenge of the Hour of Code™?
The Hour of Code is a global campaign to demystify code and encourage everybody to learn the basics of computer science. Microsoft is proud to be a founding partner of Code.org. and together they have developed some great Minecraft themed tutorials to introduce basic coding concepts. Globally the Hour of Code campaign is held during Computer Science Education Week (5 – 11 December 2016). During the campaign, individuals and groups around the world participate in a variety of one-hour introductory learn-to-code experiences and there is lots of buzz on social media using #HourOfCode. Of course – you can work through the Hour of Code materials any time you like – and are not limited to just this one week when coding is celebrated.

If you are looking for a fun activity to try with your learners during the last few days of school consider taking on the Hour of Code challenge as a class. Learners can work through one of the two Minecraft themed Hour of Code tutorials here  https://code.org/minecraft and the teacher can download the facilitator guide and PowerPoint decks here https://docs.com/hourofcode2016/6548/english. If you are a parent looking for free, fun activities for your own children to do in the holidays – why not challenge them to completing an Hour of Code? If you are looking to learn a new skill over the holidays – give the online code.org tutorials a go yourself and share your creation using #Hour of Code.

Here are some frequently asked questions about Hour of Code™

Can anyone run an Hour of Code™ workshop?
Absolutely! The online tutorials and ready-made PowerPoints make it easy for anyone to run a workshop. If you are keen to run a session download the facilitator materials here and work through the online tutorials yourself here and you will be ready to roll.

I can’t attend or run an Hour of Code™ Workshop – can I still participate?
Yes! Give the online tutorials a try and share your finished product on social media using #HourOfCode so that others can see you completed the challenge. You can even print out your own certificate at the end.

What age groups is the Hour of Code™ aimed at?
The Hour of Code™ materials are aimed at learners between the ages of 8 and 18 - with one set of materials for primary school learners and one set for high school learners. We would suggest that workshops be offered to learners between grade 3 and grade 11. Please note that the workshop materials are in English and do require some reading. These materials are meant to be a basic introduction to coding - they may seem simplistic for Computer Studies learners although people with some prior coding experience will be able to show off their skills in the final challenges.

What technology is required to complete the Hour of Code™ tutorials?
Each participant will need access to a computer, laptop or tablet with a modern browser that is connected to the Internet. Headphones for each learner would be a great help – as well as a data projector and speakers for the facilitator. If your Internet connection isn’t great you can download the materials in advance or you could download the videos and show these to the whole class instead of each child watching them individually.

How can we share what our school is doing as part of the Hour of Code™?
Please post your photos and stories on social media to tell us and the world what you are doing to get learners coding. Use the hashtag #HourOfCode and tag @MicrosoftSA.

Will learners get certificates for participating in the Hour of Code™ ?

Once someone has completed the Hour of Code™ they can download a certificate. There is also an option for the facilitator to print up to 30 certificates in a batch if this is an activity which you would like to try with a class of learners. SchoolNet SA is not able to print certificates for people completing the Hour of Code.

Do learners need access to Minecraft to participate?
The materials that will be used in these workshops use characters and concepts from the Minecraft video game, but not the game itself. Learners DO NOT need to have access to Minecraft to participate in these workshops nor do they need any knowledge of Minecraft. Of course, learners who already know and love Minecraft will be excited to see familiar characters and concepts from the game.


Do learners need to have computer skills to participate in the Hour of Code™?
The whole idea of the Hour of Code™ is to get students excited about coding. No prior coding skills or experience are required. That being said - the workshop will work better with learners who have some computer literacy or those with an interest in computers.

Rise to the challenge of completing an Hour of Code – and consider using the last week of the school year an an opportunity to expose your learners to coding. We look forward to seeing what you’ve done on social media #HourOfCode


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