Sunday, June 25, 2017

Coding Clubs Courtesy of Google

Google has launched an exciting new way for students to explore computer coding by tapping into their individual interests.  If you are looking for a new way to introduce or build on an existing coding program, you should really venture over to the Google CS First website.  
Google CS-First Coding clubs are interest based: animation, art, fashion & design, friends, game design, music & sound, social media, sports, and storytelling.

Three things caught my attention right away:

  • Google CS First uses Scratch programming.  (My students were already familiar with this. Perfect!)
  • The materials are FREE and kid friendly!  What kid doesn't like the idea of having a "Passport" where they receive badges (stickers) for every completed activity?
  • The materials include a teacher guide with step by step, illustrated directions! What teacher doesn't want the security of a teacher guide to pave the way through unfamiliar territory?
Starting a club is simple.  Create a teacher login and follow the step by step startup guide.  It will look something like this.

Helpful Hints: 
  • When students sign up, you will need to provide the join code for the specific club (ie: Art coding club) and you will need to write down their login information on the roster.  

  • You can also update the login information online (using the Student Stats tab) so that you will be able to track student progress by their name rather than their login.  This works best from a computer rather than a tablet.  I noticed that sometimes when I updated the names, they did not "stick" when using my tablet. 
Your club Student Stats screen will look something like this.  The stars indicate completed activities and the checkmarks show activities that are in progress.

  • Allow students to choose the club that they want to join to increase interest.

Reality Check:

Some students will struggle and need help.  Other students will excel and want to complete every club.  Allowing students to support each other and share ideas encourages collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.  

Have you introduced computer coding in your classroom?  I would love to hear what programs and/or tools you have found useful.

Have you used Google CS-First? If you have other tips to share, please post them in the comments.

Questions? Share those too.
the TechedOutTeacher

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