Where Do I Go From Here?
This post summarizes my personal programming journey and how it is getting very SERIOUS, very quickly!
Where It Started…
My experience programming was driven by the need to learn the basics so that the school where I taught could offer the first of more programming courses. Without any real guidance or experience, I did what anyone these days does… consult the internet.
The first resource I found most valuable was the course offered by Michigan CS Teacher Charles Severance entitle “Python for Everybody (Introduction to Python).” I completed this first course and also the Python Data Structures course. These two afforded me enough of a foundation to work with my students to build lessons, similar to those in the course, that students could use to learn the basics. I was very fortunate to find this resource and a recent search shows that the course offerings have expanded, I am confident in recommending “Python is for Everybody” as a great place for anyone to start.
From there I was able to focus on the skills taught in the python course and create instructional resources such as video tutorials, coding practice, and projects that students (at the middle school) level could use as an elective course to prepare for the high school classes that would be added in the next few years.
The time from launching the middle school python course and the need for additional courses was quite short. The interest was very high and the desire for a more robust curriculum followed quickly. At this point, I turned to known courses and outside resources to account for the increasing pace of needing to add classes that I knew I would need to teach. We made the decision to add the Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles course, we well as a transitional course that would focus on coding best practices called “Introduction to Computer Science.”
Working in the AP CS Principles course inspired me to consider how we could provide a strong foundation for that course with what we covered in the "‘homemade’ Introduction to CS course. With the main focus of the AP CSP course based on understanding the internet, it only seemed relevant to start with websites, as they are the main entry point for most internet users. The caveat to this… now I needed to learn HTML and CSS. With an interest in the creative opportunities with computer science, I will admit that this made the work easier. I honed in on the resources provided by freecodecamp.com responsive web design course as the start to the introduction course.
Eventually, the Introduction to CS course evolved to use the Code.org Discoveries course as a foundation, with the addition of some other JS to supplement the instruction. As with the AP CSP course, the use of Code.org as a platform allows for a more accessible and equitable programming experience.
There were other short explorations, such as a short foray into Virtual Reality, but my interests continued to rest in front-end / user-side development.
Where It Is Going…
While I don’t think that this is necessary for learning; however for me, I find value in seeing the full trajectory of the course and there are consistent and predictable checkpoints in the progression toward the goal. This is why I chose to invest my time (and money) in signing up for a coding Bootcamp.
This is not to say that the other resources I tried are not adequate, it means that for me the opportunity to work in a provided pathway with a more structured support system yields the highest likelihood for success.
While I am only three weeks into the course at the time of this writing, I am feeling very thankful for the opportunity and confident in acquiring and learning these new skills as each new challenge presents a new opportunity to learn!