Teach coding to students, it’s an important skill.

Our Minister for Education has been praising the review of the “National Curriculum” This report has caused quite a lot of angst across the board but  technology in particular may well be phased back, especially before year 9. Whilst most agree that there is a  crowded curriculum many do not believe that studying  ICT contributes to a this unnecessarily. Many will argue that ICT skills are fundamental and it is critical that they should form part of the core curriculum, along with numeracy and literacy, in this increasingly digitized world.

Today I came across this well designed together infographic that explains how teaching coding to students, even young students, has several benefits and  why teachers must teach coding to their students. It is offers a very good argument for teaching the skills.

It was created by Kodable and is an iOS app that teaches children various coding and programming concepts through a variety of maze activities.The free version allows users to play the first 30 levels (Smeeborg World) for free.  The Pro version (has a small fee) offers full access, giving you a total of 4 Worlds. I have only seen the work of others as I use microsoft and android options.

Please include attribution to Kodable with this graphic.

5 Reasons to Teach Kids to Code

A few links to other posts/tools that might be useful:

7 Apps for Teaching Children Coding Skills Digital learning specialist Anna Adam provides a quick overview of seven apps that are appropriate for teaching younger children one of the most critical 21st century skills: coding.

Ten Resources for Helping Students Learn to Code and Program  by Richard Byrne on his blog Free technology for teachers. Very well explained uses for 10 tools.

Engaging 6th Graders With Coding A guest post on Richard Byrne’s Free technology for teachers where a teacher discusses how she approached teaching coding to her class.

Scratch Tutorials provides guidance on getting starting with Scratch with kids. Scratch is a website from MIT specifically for kids. Kids can program stories, games, and animation. It’s so empowering for kids to be able to learn how to build their own programs.

A useful pinterest board is Coding or Programming for students that collects all sorts of resources.

Finding and using Images with Creative Commons

A few posts and tweets recently have discussed how easy it is to get caught using copyright images and the consequences that can follow.

This term I have been working with a few classes developing skills about how to search for and then attribute images. We have looked at what Creative Commons is, some of the dedicated CC sites and how you can use the right search with Google to find CC images.

Two tools that I have been using for the past few years that are very good if you want to attribute or embed images are:

  1. ImageCodr works with Flickr images. I wrote about this tool back in 2010 and have used it many time to correctly attribute images I am using.
  2. Wylio. This tool provides users with a very easy way to quickly search through the huge number of free images from different sources and then allows you to generate a code so that you can insert those images directly into a blog post. I wrote a how-to post last year. I also encouraged our students to use it for some of their assignments. Since last year it you login with a Google account but other than that it still works in the much the same way, with steps easy to follow.

I put a Creative Commons page on my wiki as well as our library site, listing some of the places where you can go to find images, with a second page explaining what the CC symbols meant.  HeyJude site also has a great list of sources here and the Creative Commons organisation has a good list here

Thanks to an RSS feed, today I saw a post on Richard Byrne’s Free Technology for Teachers site about a new tool that you can use when choosing a license for your own work.

It has been created by Creative Commons and is a great addition to this very informative site.

“Creative Commons licensing can be a good way to explicitly state the terms by which people can use and re-use your creative written, audio, and visual works. But selecting the license that is right for you can be confusing. “

I love how easily it steps you through the process. In less than a minute you can have the correct license for your work completed and ready to use. It also offers explanations along every step.

As Richard Byrne comments it is also a great way to explore what different features of the licenses mean, even if you are not going to use them for work. The tool allows you to choose different combinations and then check what this will allow others to do with something with that particular setting.

If I have something that might be useful for others I am always happy to share and a lot of students love the idea of sharing their work. Flickr made it simple to share your CC licensed images a long time ago (in owner settings) but things on other sites were a bit more of a problem. Now there is a tool we can use that will make it easier to understand and create the correct licenses to share with others.