Some ideas to help you keep coding during the holiday

code champions logo_altWant to continue coding in the holiday break? Peter Miller describes some of the ways you can do this.

  • Parents of younger children: Read over with your children, to help comprehension, and to support a diverse range of coding activities.
  • Students of all ages: Show and teach your parents and friends what you know!

Diversify your coding

Beetle Blocks screenshotDoing and using different projects / activities / languages / environments will give you perspective on, and grow, your coding abilities and transferable skills:

  • Try adapting an idea or feature from a game/app into a different language / environment.
  • Use online resources when trying something new, such as:-  guides, exercises, FAQs, challenges, eLearning / online courses.
  • Use Hacking to discover, explore, understand and collaborate / share.
  • Try using Scratch, Tynker, Beetle Blocks, Gamefroot, and p5js

Grow your Hacking skills

Hacking is how you teach yourself to understand the commands and capabilities in a language and environment, how to combine them, and how they interact:

  • Once change at a time
  • Reversible/undo-able changes
  • Small changes
  • Collaboration
  • Not perfectionism
  • Small/prototype projects

Be methodical

Complex code is built from simple beginnings.  Use this simple methodology to grow your code and coding skills:

  • Make a start.
  • Start simple and do what you know.  
  • Hack and make something more complex.  
  • Repeat and do something new, now what you know has grown.

Be creative

pacmanCoding requires creativity, both to solve problems and to come up with ideas / features which let you develop your coding skills.

  • Use inspiration from everyday life to think of scenarios to frame your ideas, such as objects, scenes, behaviours. Also draw on ideas from books, documentaries and movies.
  • Try early arcade/computer games/apps for simpler ideas and features. Hardware limitations meant less complex games/apps and increased ingenuity and playability.
    • Try 70s and 80s arcade machines and home computers like ZX Spectrum, C64, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, and Pacman, Dig Dug, Space Invaders, Defender, Joust, Tron, and Pole Position.
    • Look at youtube videos and walkthroughs; also emulators.
  • Do something different to the Tutor starters / examples / samples shared in class.

Do code

Coding involves actively starting and growing your projects, by adding code that features a diverse range of core concepts. If you are using these concepts and growing your code, then chances are you’re coding!

  • Control flow 
  • Variables
  • Boolean logic and comparisons 
  • Conditionals
  • Functions/Custom blocks 
  • Objects/entities

Coding involves a diverse range of activities.  Make sure you are spending time on many different activities; switch to a different activity, or start a new project/prototype, if not:-

  • Create 
  • Design  
  • Plan
  • Collaborate 
  • Research
  • Contribute 
  • Implement
  • Test
  • Review 
  • Share

Practice good device hygiene by limiting the amount of time you spend on all devices, including time coding!  Coding takes time and concentration but also requires rests/breaks, and doing a diverse range of other physical and mental activities.  Help your coding by giving yourself a break!

Not coding

  • Just browsing/playing videos, apps and games.
  • Modding/skinning.
  • Spending all your time on research.
  • Spending all your time on one feature/idea/area/prototype/project

 

Compiled by Peter Miller, tutor, Code Champions

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