Hour of Code

hour-of-code-logoLast week, I had the pleasure of bringing Hour of Code to my kids’ school. Over several days, I taught a total of 8 sessions, in classes all the way from kindergarten through 6th grade. I knew the kids would be excited for the new Star Wars movie coming out next weekend, so we used the Star Wars lesson from code.org to program BB-8 to move around the screen and collect pieces of scrap metal.

Even with the youngest students, it was great to see how quickly they caught on to the concept of putting together instructions to command BB-8 around the screen. Of course, the older kids caught on even faster, and were able to progress farther along in the exercises. Many of the older kids finished the Star Wars lesson in less than an hour, and then moved on to some of the other coding lessons available at code.org. Popular choices were Minecraft and Flappy Bird.

One of the most unexpected outcomes for me was the discovery by a good number of the older kids that they could program their games to allow them to cheat and rack up a large number of points while never dying. The amount of sheer joy that they got out of that was pretty funny to watch.

This was my first time doing anything like this, and I was definitely out of my comfort zone a bit. While I was nervous going into it, seeing how much the kids were into it was really fulfilling, and quickly put me at ease. All of the classes were disappointed when their hour came to an end. The students and teachers were all very thankful, and gave me comments like “this was the best thing ever”, and “I’ve never seen them so engaged for an hour straight!”

Hour of Code was extremely fulfilling for me, well worth the time I took off work to spend with those kids. To anyone who’s even remotely into coding, I couldn’t recommend this enough. I’ll definitely be back again next year.

Hello, World!

This is my blog. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

My name is Brandon Wood. I am a software developer, currently employed in higher-education. My day job mostly involves .NET and SQL Server, but I’m a lifelong geek who loves tinkering with technology in my spare time.

I have over 11 years of professional programming experience, but in many ways I feel like my words (and code) are wasted. I want to be more actively involved in this community. That’s one reason I’ve started sharing more of my code. I want to write more too, which is what I’m doing here with this blog. Communities like Stack Overflow are great, but there’s also immense value in owning your own content.

I figure that if I have to spend more than 5 minutes figuring out some issue, it’s worth sharing what I’ve learned and saving others from wasting time solving the same problem over again.