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It's All About the Platform.

  • December 21, 2015

Inspiring The Developers of Tomorrow with The Hour of Code

Richard Bingham
Senior Development Manager

In support of our local community I offered to help run a coding event at my local school. What is interesting is that this fits with the focus across the industry for a simplification of development, and the 'Citizen Developer' concept - defined by gartner as "a user who creates new business applications for consumption by others using development and runtime environments sanctioned by corporate IT".  Take a look at Oracle's own suite of customization tools for examples - such as Page Composer, BI Composer, (the majority of) Application Composer.  Integration Cloud Service, and the newest member of the Cloud Developer tools Application Builder Cloud Service. These are all 'no code' development environments. In addition, as a forward thinking organization it is interesting to us to look for the expectations of future generations, even with young children where these ideas are first formed. It's truly fascinating.

Event Details 

The logistics for this were very easy as we leveraged the platform and exercises from the non-profit site code.org. We participated in something called "The Hour Of Code" a global event run over one week where participants spend one hour learning some basics of coding. At the time of writing there are 181,105 hour of code events running around the world this year, across 180 countries and 40 languages. So far there has been over 100 million participants. As these numbers indicate, this is the largest education event in history.

Learn more about it from this video, featuring many famous names.

Activities

There were three themed choices for participants. As you can imagine this really ignited their enthusiasm to being with.

Each one worked in the same way, with 15 challenges set over the Blockly platform to allow drag and snap-together of code blocks. For example the following required you to lay track to the house and was completed with the blocks on the left pane.

Interestingly the system allows you to view the JavaScript generated by the blocks and used by the animation. Here is the code for the blocks above. Obviously the intention here is to make the user aware of what real code looks like as the start of a progression path from using blocks.

In our school we ran sessions for every class, totally about 100 children with ages ranging from 5 to 11 years. We estimate that the children wrote about 2000 lines of code! There was lots of passion and everyone readily grasped the concept of issuing sequenced instructions, using problem solving techniques, and showing great resilience (aka trail-and-error). It was amazing to see even the little ones really enjoying the activities, with everyone getting a completion certificate and so many wanting to carry-on in their own time.  

The future of application development looks really bright!!

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