What Is Coding?
Coding, also known as programming, is simply telling a computer how to do a task. Coding involves using a special language to tell a computer how you want it to do a task.
This can mean anything from making a game, like Fortnite, to how to load search results on Google, and so much more!
Today, we will be starting at the very beginning, and try coding an animation, using Pivot Animator. You will need to download the program here: https://pivotanimator.net
Why is Coding So Important?
Coding encompasses so much more than simply computer programming. When kids code, they learn a number of very useful skills, including:
coding is another language - learning new languages helps children strengthen their verbal and written skills
coding fosters creativity - just you wait until your child starts playing with this program, no prompting required!
a major aspect of coding is PROBLEM SOLVING - this is arguably the most important skill that a child can learn, as it is applies to almost every other aspect of learning AND play
Focus for Parents:
The cool part about Pivot is that although is is very basic coding, it doesn't feel like it at all! This activity works really well with letting the child learn through exploration and play. A great way to get the most out of the learning with this activity is to ask lots of questions, like: What do you think would happen if you did this? Why do you think this setting changes this? And my personal favourite: If it's not working the way you'd like, what can we change? What could you do differently?
Check out this example of an animation made with Pivot!
1. Create an animation with at least two figures, and 30 frames.
2. What happens when you make your frame rate higher? Lower?
3. What did you discover about the program that I didn't show you?
4. How many frames does it take to make a character move across the screen?
Coding In the Curriculum
Though coding is not yet in the Ontario curriculum, it will undoubtedly be in one of the upcoming revisions. There is a lot of debate about where coding fits into the curriculum, but it will most likely be considered a mathematics skill.
"Ontario’s Renewed Math Strategy focuses on seven mathematical process skills/expectations —the actions of doing mathematics— which include problem solving, reasoning and proving, reflecting, selecting tools and computational strategies, connecting, representing, and communicating. These mathematical processes are embedded in coding tasks and developing computational thinking skills.
From a literacy perspective, coding tasks require students to revise and edit their work, write and follow a procedure, decode and comprehend text, and communicate their learning. Learning to code requires that students work collaboratively, persevere to overcome challenges, while developing Global Competencies, and learning skills outlined in Growing Success (https://www.teachontario.ca/community/explore/coding-in-ontario-classrooms/blog/2018/02/02/everyone-can-code-a-coding-and-computational-thinking-plc).