My notes from yesterday’s elementary coding workshop…


  •’s elementary school courses overview [VIDEO]
  • In fifteen years we’ll be teaching programming just like reading and writing… and wondering why we didn’t do it sooner. – Mark Zuckerberg
  • The average car has 15 computer chips in it. The average high-end car has almost 100 computer chips in it.
  • Very few students are taking AP Computer Science. And of that small sliver, only 15% are girls and only 8% are not White or Asian.
  • is a public nonprofit dedicated to bringing computer science to every school and to increasing participation by women and underrepresented student populations. Organizer of the Hour of Code campaign. Computer science PD partner for 30 of the largest districts nationwide, including New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Producer of online courses in 30,000 classrooms.
  • elementary curriculum was created in conjunction with Cal-Berkeley.
  • Short 20-hour courses for elementary school
    • Course 1 – for early readers, ages 4-6, grades K-1
    • Course 2 – for beginners, ages 6+, grades 2-5 (can skip Course 1)
    • Course 3 – for ages 6+, grades 2-5, kids who have completed Course 2
    • Course 4 (beta) – for grades 4-8, kids who have completed Course 3
    • Each course is about 20 lessons, about 40 minutes each
    • Can reinforce existing math, science, and English/language arts standards
    • Any PC, tablet, and also ‘unplugged’
  • Teacher Dashboard
  • YouTube channel
  • Each lesson usually has a couple of videos, one for the teacher (lesson video in the lesson plan) and one for the participating students
  • Getting loopy, Course 1, Stage 12 (an unplugged activity)
  • Maze:Loops, Course 1, Stage 13
  •’s Pair Programming video is an excellent conversation starter for teachers and students
    • Pair programming leads to fewer errors and fewer dumb errors
    • Consider having kids do all the exercises on one kid’s account, then going back and doing them again on the other kid’s account – solidifies learning, helps them understand better (sometimes they just get lucky), fosters more creative solutions the second time through, etc.
  • Often students get the problem right but they don’t understand why or can’t explain why
  • In, students can’t break anything – “let’s try it and find out together”
  • Group breakouts
  • What’s the difference between a conditional and an event?
    • Event = WHEN = continually asking ‘Is it now? Is it now? Is it now?’
    • Conditional = IF = only asking ‘Is it now?’ if particular circumstances are present
  • Try to create a story and/or program Flappy Bird
  • Challenges we’ll face when attempting to implement these courses
    • Lack of a formal, articulated, vertical set of curricular/extracurricular experiences for students across K-12 grade levels
    • Time
    • Professional learning
    • Concerns about students already spending too much time in front of a screen
  • Somebody somewhere has to start the ball rolling!
  • Get contact name(s) for each Iowa AEA that Ben has been working with
Pair Programming