Want 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
Doing 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
- Not perfectionism
- Small/prototype projects
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.
Coding 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.
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
- Boolean logic and comparisons
- Functions/Custom blocks
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:-
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!
- Just browsing/playing videos, apps and games.
- Spending all your time on research.
- Spending all your time on one feature/idea/area/prototype/project
Compiled by Peter Miller, tutor, Code Champions