Hour of Code: Teen and Tween Titles

Hour of Code is a grassroots campaign that takes place during Computer Science Education Week, which is December 4-10 this year. Educators across the world are encouraged to introduce one hour of computer science to young people to "demystify code" and "broaden participation in the field of computer science." 

This week, I decided it would be exciting to spend my Hour of Code sharing information about some of many resources CPL offers about coding for tweens and teens.

Coding For Dummies provides a simple five-part introduction to coding, including HTML, CSS, Twitter Bootstrap and JavaScript. It also includes more complex app-building, and introduces app creators and coding languages like Ruby and Python that are used every day by engineers on sites like Google Maps or Instagram.

In contrast, Coding for Kids for Dummies is a much more basic look at coding, focusing on how to get started at a beginner level. It includes a bunch of fun start-to-finish projects in the MicroWorlds Ex workspace. Like Coding for Dummies, the information is clear and well-organized, and full of colorful pictures and diagrams. Throughout the book, math and coding connections appear in diagram boxes, introducing new vocabulary words, such as "recursion" in everyday life and in computer science (mirroring or reflecting and happening over and over).

How to Code in 10 Easy Lessons is comic-like, featuring illustrations, and easily digested, yet comprehensive and fun. After reading this, you'll be able to understand Scratch coordinates and create a simple script, sound effects or movements, to name a few super skills. I particularly appreciate that readers will know how to both create a game and website from trying the activities.

Another title is A Beginner's Guide to Coding. This is an excellent guide to Scratch and Python for tweens and teens. The projects are fun and provide a wide variety of activities to sample, including dance heroes, turtles, loopy shapes and more.

Finally, I'd recommend Getting Paid to Make Games and Apps, which details how to apply newly acquired skills or interests in digital media to future jobs. This book introduces the positive changes games and apps have made to lives around the world. It also provides examples of professionals who design games, such as Jane McGonigal, whose goal is to see a game designer win a Nobel Peace Prize. It's worth checking out some of the educational opportunities and skills you'll need to take advantage of and be successful in the field of games and apps.