Jan 14, 2012

You Know You've Secretly Wanted to Learn To Code! (Info, links, video!)

You know you've secretly wanted to learn to code. Just do it! 

"Make your New Year's resolution learning to code.Sign up on Code Year to get a new interactive programming lesson sent to you each week and you'll be building apps and web sites before you know it." -Code Year  http://codeyear.com/

BTW, coding skills are needed beyond the world of apps and websites. Take a look at some of the posts and links on this blog - your imagination just might be sparked!  If you already know how to code, why not commit to learning something new?  

COMMENT:  There is much more to coding than what you'll learn through Code Academy's Code Year process. If you are serious about learning more about coding, computer science, and software systems, take an introductory course at your local community college or university extension program,  preferably with a friend. Ask the instructor if some of the assignments can be done through the "paired programming" technique.  It is more fun and social than the traditional way of coding!

Of all the textbooks, videos, and coding/programming self-help books I've come across, the series that has made the most sense to me is the brain-friendly "Head First" publications from O'Reilly.  It explains things well for beginners. Although it contains text and code, there are many pictures, diagrams, and humorous visual representation of basic concepts that are much more engaging than traditional "learn-to-code" tomes.

It is not too late to learn to code! 
There are so many great resources available to us now, in 2012, there is no excuse to ignore your inner geek.  If some (or all) of your hair is grey, why do crossword puzzles or Sudoku when you can be creative with code?

I took my first programming class about 8 years ago, when my youngest daughter was in high school.  It was daunting at first, because the textbook was dry, the programming labs were tedious, and some of my mostly-male classmates already knew how to code.  In my case, I was motivated to learn to code because I wanted to create games at the time, and this got me over the hump.  I soon learned that coding is both a science and an art, and learning to code opens up a whole new way of thinking. (See the video of Jeanette Wing's presentation about computational thinking, at the end of this post.)

Why your 2012 New Year's Resolution Should Be Learning to Code
Sarah J., SPOTLIGHT on Digital Media and Learning Blog 1/9/12
PLAYBACK:  Pedagogy, Coding and Teaching Kids to Think Deeply
Sarah J., SPOTLIGHT on Digital Media and Learning 1/13/12
Center for Computational Thinking
Computational Thinking (pdf) (Jeannette Wing)
Code Academy
Head First Labs
Coding4Fun Blog
Coding4Fun KinectToolkit
Kinect for Windows SDK
CSTA:  ACM K-12 Computer Science Model Curriculum, 2nd Edition
CS Model Curriculum, 2nd Edition (pdf)
Jeanette M. Wing's Vision: "Computational thinking will be a fundamental skill used by everyone in the world by the middle of the 21st Century"
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For 2012, my goal is to brush up on my previously learned coding skills and learn a few new ones related to the Kinect. I also want to become comfortable with HTML5.

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