I have always wanted to learn how to code. This desire started when I was in middle school. My teacher worked with a local university to help us think about how to multiply polynomials. Specifically, we wrote a basic program (coded?) in something called ToolBook. This was quite a feat as it was back in one step above the monochromatic screen glory of 1992. We stored what we did on a 5″ floppy disk. Yet, I would dare say this unit was probably the most influential for me in my career. It was awesome to me that not only did I have to really understand the principles of the math, but I had to teach a machine how to do it for me. Looking back, I can see that there were frustrating times for my teacher and that we were probably an experimental group, but it really worked! It got me to think about my own thinking of math. We wrote (what I assume now) code for Toolbook to make the program automatically find the product of binomials, basically with a graphic organizer. Any small detail left out would stop the process. That program rocked my world.
Recreating the experience I had in middle school and building on the ideas there, for me, would be fascinating. Of all of the things to learn, I feel this would be most influential for my own life and hopefully be able to transfer into the classroom. What better time is there to learn how to code? I don’t know if I need to re-create ToolBook, but an experience like that could be beneficial.
I don’t think it’s even in existence any more. In an initial search, I found it described here, but it looks like it’s evolved (as it should). I would assume more students could benefit from this task like I did. I would also assume that it would easily transfer to being able to code for other topics/domains as well. Perhaps I could make my own rudimentary educational software application.
How I Plan to Learn to Code
This is the tricky part. I am not exactly sure where to start. The only source I know of for sure is Khan Academy. They have resources for how to code and activities to practice coding on the site. I’ll start there. I will also do a search for other places that teach coding. One resource would give a limited point of view. My sister has her own online business that has required her to learn how to use HTML code. She bought a program to teach her how. I will see if I can use her resource as well.