During World War II, First Nations soldiers from Canada who spoke Cree were recruited as top secret “code talkers”. Because soldiers from other countries did not know of the Cree language, they were unable to recognize and decipher the “coded” messages written or spoken in Cree. The code talkers were able to create “unbreakable” coded messages.
Creating code is also important in technology and the field of computer science. It is the language we use to “speak” to computers. Students who learn coding skills develop stronger computational thinking skills, a competency that is included in BC’s new curriculum. Students also develop skills in problem solving, critical thinking, creativity, and communication as well.
Last year, approximately 85% of our students in the district participated in Hour of Code activities from December to February. Let’s try to do the same, or better, this year. Students can participate in one hour activities that are either online or “unplugged”. There are many “unplugged” ideas available on the Hour of Code, such as making binary code bracelets. As well as the one hour “coding” tutorials, teachers can also access support tutorials and find extension lessons for students if they would like to go beyond the hour.
There are also some excellent coding programs available for students to use outside of the Hour of Code activities. Scratch is a web-based program that can be accessed on the computer and is an excellent tool to support both Math and Art competencies. There are also many apps available on the iPad such as Scratch Jr., Sphero Edu, and Swift Playgrounds. There are also great lesson ideas available in iBooks such as Everyone Can Code, Learn to Code 1 & 2, and Get Started with Code 1.
By engaging in activities such as coding, let’s help develop students into the next generation of code talkers AND code breakers.
- https://code.org/learn (online activities)
- https://code.org/curriculum/unplugged (unplugged activities)
- http://codebc.ca/ (provincial resource)