Today we ran a workshop at Northwest Rankin High School in Mississippi and headed to Little Rock!
Today we ran a workshop right outside of Jackson, Mississippi. We visited Northwest Rankin High School, where they don’t yet have computer science classes. We were invited by the math teacher, and got to do a getting started workshop with many of her students. Some students had tried the CodeHS Hour of Code, but many students had not.
What Does a CodeHS Workshop Look Like?
I’ve now run probably way over 50 workshops at schools and other organizations all over the country. We have a pretty similar “first-day” workshop that we run to help get students excited about coding. Here’s what that looks like.
- Set Up the Room
First, we make sure to set up the room. Sometimes we run workshops in computer labs, sometimes schools have laptop carts, sometimes students or teachers bring their own laptops. Sometimes we’ll bring our own laptops. But we make sure to have computers set up, connected to the internet and ready to go. Sometimes to save time, we’ll log in to the computers and make sure they are already at the right web page.
2. Welcome and Introducing Karel the Dog
We’ll start off by introducing ourselves, introducing CodeHS, and explaining that we’re going to be running a coding workshop. I’ll explain what Karel the Dog is, how Karel is a great way to get started with programming, and then write a few sample programs up with a projector. I prefer writing the programs live on my computer with a projector, but you can also write them on a chalkboard or whiteboard if that is necessary.
3. Students Working at Their Own Pace
Once we’ve kicked off the students and introduced them to the idea of coding, we let the students work at their own pace. CodeHS is meant to be used in a self-paced, blended manner, meaning that once students complete one exercise they can keep going right on to the next one. CodeHS has short instructional videos that explain the next concept, so students can listen to the next video with their headphones.
4. Wrapping It Up — Applications of Computer Science
A big reason we do these workshops is to help get students, teachers, and schools excited about coding and how it can be a fun and useful skill. As we wrap it up, we’ll often take a survey to get feedback (usually our workshops are over a 9/10 on average!), and then we’ll do a discussion with the students. This varies depending on the school and what the teachers hope to talk about, but we usually talk about applications of computer science. We’ll talk about how computer science applies in different fields, and different ways the students can use coding. We’ll also answer other general questions they have about CodeHS, computer science in college, or beyond.
So that’s what a coding workshop looks like!
CodeHS for CS Principles
This school is going to teach an AP Computer Science class next year, and as they look for their curriculum, CodeHS is an option that provides the flexibility they need to run a great, interactive class. The teachers are new to teaching coding, and they participated in our workshop as well to help get an idea of the interactive type of lessons, as well as the tools on the teacher side.
After our workshop we drove to Little Rock, Arkansas for our next day of meetings.
Directions to Little Rock
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