Coding is an important aspect of SAAS that is often uncelebrated. The truth is, Software Development is a very popular class. Approximately 150 students will be able to take the class this year and four sections are offered, even though it is only available in the winter and spring trimesters.
This year, Gary Anderson (math/software development teacher) is adding something new to engage Seattle Academy’s coding fans: the SAAS Coding Challenge. The Coding Challenge is an activity where Gary posts a prompt on Moodle, and the participant must submit a response that fulfills the conditions of that prompt within a week. For example, a past Coding Challenge required participants to “animate the SAAS logo.”
The main reason for the Coding Challenge is to “help students sustain and expand their coding knowledge over a long term basis,” according to Gary. He wants to provide his and David John’s software students opportunities to practice their coding, especially during the fall trimester when the elective isn’t offered.
But the Coding Challenge isn’t just for Software Development veterans. Gary says that he “post(s) hints in the middle of the week and a walkthrough at the end of the week so students can jump in when they are developmentally ready.” This allows beginners who are newer to coding to learn, even if they aren’t able to complete the challenge at the beginning of the week. In fact, getting beginners involved was one of Gary’s motives for creating the Coding Challenge in the first place. He wants “students to be engaged early in high school and perhaps being able to build on their skills in later years at the school.” Basically, if students are introduced to it now, their time in software development could be more rewarding.
For those out there who are interested in coding, Gary isn’t the only one providing it. Khan Academy, a free website used by several teachers at SAAS, is launching something called the “Hour of Code.” The Hour of Code is a collection of different lessons at Code.org that teach viewers how to program. The SAAS Coding Challenge during the Hour of Code week is to create a web page about something that interests the students.
Although this is only the first year the Coding Challenge has been up, it has already had many students submit their work to Gary. Of course, Gary always welcomes new participants. So if you want to, there are many opportunities to get involved in coding, for both beginners and experts.