No, I’m not as smart as a 5th grader
As a sort of New Year’s/life resolution I forced myself to go through an “Hour of Code” today at code.org. This is a site with free programming lessons that comes with tips from Karlie Kloss (if beautiful young women can code, you can too!) and old hands like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. (plus, news alert—I just heard from Deborah Peterson, who’s asked me to add a link so that you can better understand which code it makes sense to learn).
I chose the middle school lesson—after failing on my Elsa and Anna snowflake-making tasks (I was having some issues with understanding that you could put multiple instructions inside the Lego-like boxes that you attach to one another to form your code). Before you get too impressed, realize that this is “drag and drop” code, which only requires you to get the concept of things like repeating instructions (loops) and if/then statements, not actually learn how to write the code (though you can see the behind-the-scenes coding at every step, if you’re interested).
With some helpful tips from Bill and some basketball player whom I didn’t recognize, I was able to get through all 20 grade school/middle school exercises. Hooray! I confess to feeling a frisson of pride, plus I got this cool certificate to mark my accomplishment! Check it out for yourself!