So I volunteered as a helper at my local elementary school "Hour of Code" day. Kids K-2 ran little programming games (generally "give step by step instructions to this little robot-y thing to make it to the goal") on iPads, and the 3-5 kids did similar on netbooks.
Some random thoughts:
- I was surprised that kids seem to prefer mice to touchpads
- especially in this particular class (4th grade) I was aware of how noisy and attention seeking some of the kids were, and saying things mostly just to look smart or similar - probably more aware because I'm pretty sure I was like that as a kid. And it was mostly just boys, which might be problematic.
- I was happy to see the enthusiasm for checking out books. (the lessons were in the library, serving as a computer lab of sorts)
- "The Paper Bag Princess" seems like it would be a bad story to read to folks living near the wildfires right now.
- Kids are more enthused by Pokemon / Digimon type stuff as a programming lesson theme than Wonder Woman or Star Wars (even though "Code Monsters" seemed buggier and more arbitrary than the other stuff)
- Most of these programming exercises focus on breaking tasks into step by step instructions - which is admittedly a critical part of programming - but I wish more were about ... like, making stuff? I.e. drawing on some kind of canvas vs programming a robot-ish thing. I'm not sure if it's inherently a more complex thing to teach (I guess "Logo" is the mix of those two) A "Star Wars" Hour of Code thing came closest, where rather than telling R2D2 what steps to take you learned event-driven programming and made a game of sorts, setting up a program that then let you drive R2D2 via the cursor keys.