In a quiet corner of a distant forest, a young mouse dares to dream of what might be. While her fellow classmates aspire to become football players, architects and doctors, Hazel begins an adventure of a lifetime. With the power of magic, Hazel journeys through her day, helping friends and family, solving problems and making the world a better place.
If I Were A Wizard... Introduces coding concepts through the imagination of a young mouse. From Repeats and Loops to Algorithms, If I Were A Wizard prompts discussions and helps build conceptual understanding of coding concepts.
About the Author:
Paul Hamilton is a primary school teacher on the Sunshine Coast. He is passionate about introducing students to coding concepts in a variety of ways, including through non-digital formats. Paul is a renowned, inspiring public speaker, and an advocate for the effective use of technology in schools.
Paul, why is coding important Primary School?
Coding is what makes it possible to create a plethora of things including apps and websites. It is the step by step instructions that tell a computer or piece of technology what to do. It has the ability to create new products, bring people together and solve important problems
in the world. Coding can be an engaging, relevant and a challenging way for our students to tell stories, consolidate mathematical concepts and develop important 21st-century skills such as problem-solving, critical thinking and creativity.
Do younger students struggle with learning abstract concepts?
Our little learners learn concepts in many different ways. Their ability to connect concepts to their own lives is important. This book was written to fill this void. I hope Hazel will be a stimulus for discussion, bridge the gap between the physical and digital, and provide a springboard into the magical world of coding. Having a basic understanding of how technology works is important. I think it is incredibly important for our students to become creators.
Why is creation so important?
Whether this means creating a ‘how to eBook’ for other students to read, a documentary highlighting a community hero or to produce a digital game through code, encouraging students to create allows skills to be developed and doors to open regarding future careers.
How does your book draw on your teaching experience in the classroom?
If I Were A Wizard helps students make connections between examples in the book and their own lives. We know this comprehension strategy is effective so why not employ it to learning coding concepts. Students can make connections to other books, their own lives
and the broader world. By identifying similar concepts in the world, students gain a greater insight when they are actually coding. If a student knows the importance of 'sequence and order', the students will be more likely to find errors in code and fix them.
When Hazel creates 10 perfect waves for Milo to ride, we are introduced to 'Repeats'. Students that can see repeating patterns in the world will have a greater chance of identifying where 'Repeats' can make code more efficient. When students are first introduced to programs such as Scratch they are more likely to NOT use repeats. This causes long and problematic sequences of code, where students find it difficult to find errors and bugs.