“Mum Mum” he screamed as he jumped in the car.
“You have to sign this and I need to take it to the office right now,” the enthusiasm was oozing out of him.
“O.K. what is it” I ask as I glance at the note.
“Special people are coming to school to teach coding and all the kids in grade 4, 5 and 6 have been given a note and it is first in first served.”
Once I had signed the note he dashed back to the office.
Coding is a whole new language to us. I am not a computer geek, in fact all I know about computers, software and apps is how to press the keys. This blog was designed by a wonderful friend who understands all the back end. To be perfectly honest I have no desire to learn the back end but it seems coding is the new language that is infiltrating our house.
Last night Mr 9 came home from school talking non-stop about an idea he has for an app. He had dreamed up the whole thing and vividly described to it to me. Then the questions started:
How do we make an app?
How do other people access them?
How do we put them on the app store?
How does someone buy one?
Can we make one tomorrow?
My response: “Mummy doesn’t know how to make a app but we could learn. I am sure we could find out how on google. Before we do that though lets make sure you don’t forget your ideas”. I gave him a note book, he grabbed a pen and he sat down and wrote up his ideas. He wrote more than I have ever seen him write.
Once all the kids were asleep last night I sat down and after a moment of, “what in the world am I doing encouraging my child to design an app, I know nothing about it.” I pressed on and typed into google making an app and of course google came through.
Mr 9, an early riser, was beside our bed this morning asking us what I had found out about making an app. So after getting completely ready for school I shared what I had learnt.
Step 1. We need to learn how to code.
We started by watching this TEDTALK, a 12 year old boy who develops apps.
Now I am the last person who knows the detail of coding but luckily there are other people out there who know and my searching lead me to an app called Hopscotch Learn To Code.
Step 2. Download Hopscotch learn to Code. Find it in the app store.
Mr 9 and I then sat down and started. To my relief it is pretty easy to understand. The app is awesome it has a video tutorial that plays in the right hand corner of the screen as you follow the instructions. We have only completed two sessions but it makes coding simple and the fact that it demonstrates what to do as you do it made it easy for both of us. Each session seems to gradually build on the last one. So far we have selected a character and taught that character to jump and draw a square. He has learnt that for everything that happens on a screen there is a code/instruction that tells it what to do.
My lesson, coding isn’t quite as scary as I thought……………………………although we have a long way to go with this creating an app journey and I am sure I will have many more, “Oh my god what am I doing moments” I actually think between us we might be able to do it.
I also watched my son sit down and write in detail about his app. Then use typing, spelling and reading to extract information from google and I saw in action the power of reading, writing and spelling. It reinforced the exact reason why I was so determined to successfully work with my child to teach him to read, write and spell. Literacy opens the doors to allow him to use that wonderful creative Dyslexic Advantage to enjoy learning and doing new things that captivate him.
Literacy is a door that opens many worlds.