Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Coding - Exactly What I Thought...

I am a complete failure at coding.  I knew I would be as soon as the assignment was posted.  I have always tried my best to stay away from coding and there's a solid reason why - my brain just doesn't think like that...even with these games made for children.

At first I thought I would try the Hour of Code because I had seen quite a few people in the ECMP class post about how they loved it.  I thought I was doing alright until I got to level 6.  Level six stumped me and eventually made me quit.

Screenshot of an attempt at level 6
The goal of the level was to create the diamonds without overlapping the pencil lines drawn.  I could not get it and had no clue what I was doing.  I found it extremely negative too - each time I tried to see what my code had gotten me, it would pop up with a "you failed" and then just tell me to try again.  AND, the "hint" button only gives you the same hint over and over again - to use the pink repeating thing.

Another screenshot of my attempts
I played around with numerous combinations and none of them worked.  And with each attempt, my anger level rose and rose (I am not used to being good at what I'm doing, do when I can't do things right [like sports] I just get frustrated and give up).  Eventually I was just putting together random lines because I wasn't thinking anymore.  I had no clue how to pass this level and so I gave up.

Then I thought I would try the child games on Scratch.  I have never been a fan of video games or computer games, so I thought that attempting to make my own would be just as frustrating for me as the Hour of Code...but since our task was to complete one of these things, I had to complete one.

I thought I was doing alright to begin with.  I made a little creature guy (I even gave him some custom accessories) and then I sat down and tried to decide what I would make him do.  I mentally decided on a disco dance type thing.  I don't know if anyone else had issues with this, but I could NOT figure out how to make the thing go!  I could write all the "code" I wanted to, but making him go was impossible!  Then, as I was getting frustrated and pressing random buttons, I somehow managed to get him to turn upside down, and I couldn't figure out how to fix it.

Screenshot of my upside down Scratch guy
So in an attempt to start over, I created a new avatar guy - a cute little crab.  Then I tried to make the crab socially awkward, but again ran into the issue of, how to make him move?  I honestly cannot figure it out.  It has stumped me.

Neither of the avatars will move on command
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So what I have decided is that I am incapable of learning and being comfortable with code.  I was beat by, not one...but TWO, applications for children to play with to learn how to code.  I have decided that code is not for me...and that's OKAY.

Coding is something that is becoming increasingly more important for our everyday lives.  I do not question the worth it has for children to learn how to code at an early age - like learning French.  It will help them get jobs in the future and will help them understand the world.  Unfortunately for me, I also did not learn French past grade 8 when I was given the choice. 

When teaching coding in schools, I think it needs to be taught with care.  Not everyone will be "code-minded" and this is totally okay.  I wouldn't push coding and computer technology on every student, but I can definitely see it as an elective in high schools, or as a portion of a modular class in elementary schools.

Coding is difficult.  There will always be people who need to understand and work with coding to make our society operate on the level and platform it does today.  If you're like me and just cannot get the hand of this coding thing...just make sure you know someone who will help you out!


  1. Hi Leanne,

    I am sorry to hear that you had a bad experience with coding. I am not completely comfortable with html coding either, but I enjoyed Hour of Code because it represented html using visual aids. I also completed the Artist Hour of Code and found it to be quite difficult. I would encourage you to try another lesson. Personally, I found the Star Wars hour of code to be much simpler.

    I would like to address one of the very first comments in your post. You stated, "my brain just doesn't think like that...". I would like to challenge the limit you put on yourself, because you appear to be a very intelligent, strong woman.

    I am a math major, and when I tell people they often reply with something along the lines of, "oh, I was never really good at math". People have written off math because of their experiences during school. I always like to challenge this notion because most adults who believe they are not good at math have actually developed problem solving skills that help them in their everyday lives. Problem solving, I would argue, is an essential component of mathematics.

    My point is that we all have strengths, and we all develop problem solving and coping skills through our lived experience. The only difference is that we may refer to our skills by different names. I encourage you to examine your own strengths. What are you really confident in that could help you approach coding in a different way? I don't think that you should sell yourself short! If you never want to code again I completely understand, but I strongly encourage you to think about one positive thing that came out of this coding experience!

    1. Thanks so much for your comment, Tori, and sorry for the late reply (busy homework season!!).

      I absolutely agree with you on the strengths and weaknesses. I honestly think that in my situation, I got frustrated with coding because I didn't have anyone beside me telling me what I should be doing and what I was doing wrong. It made me frustrated that the "hint" option on these coding websites only gave you the same hint each time that really didn't help understand what was going wrong.

      Thank you for your confidence in me! I may very well attempt coding again at another time, mainly for the reason that I do not like admitting that I am not good at something. It was also rather surprising to me that I didn't understand coding because I have always been rather good at math, and I always enjoyed doing it. It seems to me (and I may be wrong, so correct me if I am), that coding has a lot to do with math and the way your brain works during math. Who knows.

      Thanks so much for your support and words of confidence!