Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Learn to Code – Do it For the Kids

Learn to Code – Do it For the Kids

Learn to Code

There is a shortage of people who know how to program. These are high quality, high paying jobs. How do we encourage students to learn how to code? Learning to programming not only is a skill that is in high demand, it is also incredibly useful. We have all wished we had an app or a program that would do a particular thing that is specific to ourselves. I know some HTML and some JavaScript and Google Apps Script and it is amazing what you can do with just a little knowledge.

Do It For The Kids

“Do as I say, not as I do.” If you don’t know how to do any programming this is what we are telling students. It is good for you to learn, but not important enough for me to learn. If we want to get more students into STEM fields, it starts by EACH teacher demonstrating that STEM has value.

And it is fun.

Where to Start

Start by learning just a little HTML. You would be surprised how much you can do with just a few HTML tags. For example, I use <p> all the time. This creates a new paragraph. Sometimes after inserting something into a web 2.0 tool I can not get my cursor underneath it. Switching to the HTML view I simply put a <p> at the end of the last line of HTML and I have created a paragraph underneath what I could not get under. Problem solved. Memorize a couple of HTML tags to create a table in HTML really helps you to organize information in web 2.0 tools, such as your classroom website.

Be Ready to Fail

Honestly you learn to program by your lines of code not working. You edit, try again. Edit try again. This is not a bad thing. This is how you invent, create, engineer things. Lots of great life lessons in practicing programming.

Google Apps Script

Google Apps Script is an extension of JavaScript. It allows you to modify the functionality of Google Docs. If you need a reason to learn to code, this is it! For specific things you wish Google Docs did, you can use Google Apps Script to make that happen.

You honestly need to learn so little JavaScript in order to use Google Apps Script. Check out my tutorials to get you started:

Google Apps Script Code

Here are some samples of Google Apps Script for Google text documents

  • addEditor(emailAddress)
  • getName()
  • getUrl()
  • appendText(text)
  • insertPageBreak(childIndex)

Here are some samples of Google Apps Script for Google Sheets

  • insertColumns(columnIndex)
  • protect()
  • unhideColumn(column)
  • deleteActiveSheet()
  • getFormUrl()
  • insertSheet()

As you can see, most of the codes you need for Google Apps Script are very intuitive. This makes it fairly easy to learn how to code in Google Apps Script.

1 thought on “Learn to Code – Do it For the Kids

  1. Hey Alice, great post. I especially love your third sub-heading, Be Ready to Fail! I believe it is one of the most valuable outcomes of coding. Learning to accept failure as a step toward improvement instead of the end of the road is helpful not just in coding but in life. In addition, it pushes one to get better and better at debugging, the lifeblood of programming. Like you, I am basically an html hack. I love the troubleshooting and the ability to tweak my Google Sites when necessary. Before becoming a teacher I was an electronics technician. One thing I really missed was troubleshooting problems. Coding helped fill that gap. Now, my 13 year-old son is a crazy coder. He’s writing Java which is his favorite language. I also teach some intro to coding in my grades 2/3 computer classes using Lightbot, Tynker and the Code.org tools. It’s very cool to see how excited the kids get when we do those lessons!

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