2012: My Year of Coding

This year I won’t be making any new year’s resolutions.  For me I am focusing on using my skills more at school.   As an ICT teacher it’s easy to get on the treadmill of Word, PowerPoint, Excel and the occasional Access database if you’re getting really technical.  This year I am going all out for coding at school.

In my previous life (before I was a teacher), I worked for BT in their main development facilities in Ipswich.  During my time I was a systems tester, systems analyst and I have been known to turn my hand to some coding from time to time.  Some of those development skills have lapsed but they occasionally get a trip out when I am really into a web project – an example of this was when I developed plannerLIVE!  <—- BTW: plannerLIVE! is completely free of charge, has hundreds of schools registered and has over 100,000 homework assignments online! Did I mention it’s free?

Following my visit to Microsoft’s UK base in Reading at the Microsoft in Education Forum I have been thinking more and more about getting more coding into school.  Ben Nunney‘s presentation on using Kinect in the classroom was excellent and got me thinking about doing more coding at school.  I’d love to get him to come in (or Skype in) and do some work with gifted students.  In addition, Ray Chambers is publishing some exercises on using Kinect on his website which is a future step for us.

So this Thursday I am starting Coding Club at school.  The students have been fed an almost exclusive Microsoft Office diet (some have done a little Scratch) so we’re starting from the basics.   

  • I’ll be getting all students to register with DreamSpark to get hold of software and tutorials.
  • We’ll be starting with a little SmallBasic to get them used to coding and conventions
  • Following that brief intro we’ll be getting straight into XNA Game Studio 4.0
    (I’m currently working through the XNA 4.0 Game Development by Example: Beginners Guide book which is really good)
  • From there … who knows? The sky’s the limit!

Am I going wrong?
Are you running something similar at your school?

Let me know in the comments below! 

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