So…this week for our class blog posts we were tasked with the challenge of doing a bit of coding. The above GIF pretty much sums up my initial reaction. A few of the statements that were running through my mind: Coding? What is that!? I am not ready for this! This is what fancy tech-science people do! I am not prepared!! Ahhhhhh! I definitely jumped off the deep end with the overall panic that ensued after the mere mention of the word.
However! Once I was able to calm down and listen to what was being said, I came to realize that maybe it wasn’t as intimidating as I thought. Which brings me to the point of this post, which is to show you that coding is kinda fun! To test out and begin to learn some coding, I used the site Hour of Code and tried a very beginner activity but one that was actually super fun. Does anyone remember that super annoying yet surprisingly addictive game called Flappy Bird? Well, in learning how to code, I was able to create my own version of the game, which you are welcome to play here.
Here is kind of how it went…
So this is the beginning stages of my learning how to code a Flappy Bird game. This website is actually very helpful to the beginners like me because it walks you through how to set up the game through coding. That little text bubble at the top tells you that, at this point (which is level 4) when the bird hits an obstacle, the game needs to be over. The orange and green blocks are the “events” and I had to insert the consequence of the event. When that bird hits the pipe obstacle, I wanted the game to end and so I dragged and dropped that option under the “when hit an obstacle” event.
A little farther down the road and things begin to get a little more complex and I have control over more aspects of the game. I can set the background scene, add scoring for when the bird makes it through the obstacle, add sound to the flapping of the bird, and set the speed at which the game progresses. And let me tell you, its kind of really fun. I played with the game a little bit by speeding it up (which was way out of my playing skill) and changing the background to underwater scenes. The sound effects were also very fun to play with.
So this is the final stage! It gave me the events that needed to happen but I got to choose the reactions to each event from the list on the left. It gave me some additional options to change that I had not previously seen in the earlier stages, which were interesting. And here is what my final coding for the game looked like…
Most of the technical aspects such as speed and gravity were left on normal but, in honor of Easter being this nice long weekend, I made the icon a bunny instead of a bird and I changed the pipes into plants. I also made the gap between plants a bit larger (hello, beginner) which made it easier to go farther in the game and nothing actually happens when you hit an obstacle. So, if you’re wanting something mindless and easy to do, play my finished game!
I felt very accomplished to receive my Certificate of Completion for learning to code. Overall, I found it to be something very simple to do (especially at the beginner level) and it certainly helped me understand more about what goes on “behind the screen” when engaging with technology. I am impressed that coding is starting to become a part of our curriculum! Our students are constantly engaging with code in their everyday lives whether that be on their cellphones or computers, so why not help them to better understand that every action has a reaction, which is as true in technology as it is in everyday reality. It is a very valuable skill for students to learn and I can’t wait to see it implemented in the future!