Mrs A's Blog

My Rambling Thoughts on Teaching and Learning

#FutureSchools Day 1

Today was a whole day master class in Teaching Kids to Code.  I have dabbled in code in the past.  Tried scratch, tried Bits Box, tried various iPad apps, learn to code sites and it just never seemed to make sense.  I find drag and drop programming frustrating partly I think because I lose track of where I am up to in the process and struggle to debug the issue, as I can’t always find the logic. (Perhaps it isn’t logical!)

Today something was said that made it make so much more sense…  In an explanation of how programming works for an Arduino board, the presenter said two things…

1.       If you open the door you must close the door

2.       When you write in English you finish the sentence with a full stop when you write in code remember your full stop (;)

3.       English has millions of words coding only has a thousand

Three strange statements if you just read them as they stand, however when you look at the conversations around these they start to make so much more sense.

The idea of opening and closing a function in coding is not new to me I’ve always understood when using html code that if I start with <> I have to end with </>.  If you open the door, you must close the door.  So why did I not ever understand this with C programming or python programming?

The second statement was like a duh tip.  I think that I have always seen code as a list not as prose.  Remembering that if I’m going to write lines I have to remember to end with a full stop or at least the equivalent.  The idea of it being its own language makes it make sense.  English language needs full stops so coding language needs full stops.

The last statement I think was more about taking the impossible out of it.  I always feel stuck when coding that I don’t know the language.  What do we do when we don’t know a word in English?  We grab the dictionary and look it up.

With that, I’m off to find the dictionary!

Happy coding!


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