Last school year, my small school had four students get their certificate for Hour of Code. Overall, the students were excited about having something “out of the norm” to do. The older students in grades seven and eight were interested in learning more, however, the teacher was not set up with a next step. Amazingly, there are countless apps and other programs hitting the Internet that could be perused as additions to the Hour of Code. An article published by Severine Baron at apartmenttherapy.com (2014), supplies a large list of resources that I will be sending my partner teacher, and possibly my district.
I have personally downloaded a few coding apps and my own children have been poking around at them. The apps I have are geared more towards my second grader but are enjoyed by my fifth grader as well. As I read to find out more about the world of coding, there are differing opinions about if coding should be presented within a school setting.
+Positives of Coding:
According to Mark Engelberg, a guest author on gettingsmart.com (2015), the big three reasons coding should be a core subject is because “Programming is a …foundational skill that has value across disciplines, computer science teaches problem solving and critical thinking skills, and computer science careers are readily available.” Foundational skills are skills where other skills are built upon. A student does not need to become an IT Specialist, unless that career is wanted but a few classes in Computer Science Coding will go a long way in this highly digitized and programmable world.
There are many times that computer programing could be integrated into other classroom subjects like math, science and social studies. By knowing computer sciences, a student could assist in the design in a new program that would be used as a lab in science class or invent an app that would assist vacationing travelers. This site (gettingsmart.com) also adds a link to a curriculum of an “unplugged” version of coding that can be found at http://csunplugged.org/activities. This resource offers a plethora of activities that can be completed without the use of a computer.
An article written by Gottfried Sehringer (2012) at wired.com states that “coding is a new type of literacy.” Sehringer supports teaching coding, not just in schools but having employees of IT companies lend a hand in program and app development. Having employees be a part of app development would mean they would have to get that knowledge somewhere so why not start teaching these skills at least at a high school level.
-Negatives (not really) of Coding/Computer Science:
Finding many negatives to add coding to a curriculum was a difficult task. Mr. Engelberg (gettingsmart.com) goes onto mention that many parents and schools say there is not time for Computer Science to become part of the daily schedule. One opinion of mine would be to integrate Coding into other classes and the issue of “no time” is solved. The article posted above from csunplugged.org even solves the issue of not having a lot of technology in a school but using actual students and paper or whiteboards.
One other issue I did read about in Engelberg’s article was not finding a budget that would support coding. My husband was coding a long time ago in a Linux system. Linux is free and seems easy to use with a lot of systems. I believe it to be more PC based but an article published at makeuseof.com presents six reasons Linux may be the operating system to try out. I know most everything in education is Apple based but PC’s have not died out completely. If it was a question of not having many funds to get coding started, used PC’s are easy to find and are fairly inexpensive. If Linux is as versatile and easy to adapt in many programs, all it takes now is the motivation to say you will get coding started in the classroom.
Baron, S. (February, 2014) 20 Resources for Teaching Kids How to Program & Code. Retreived from http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/20-resources-for-teaching-kids-how-to-program-code-200374 on June 21, 2016.
Bell, T., Witten, I., & Fellows, M. (nd) CS Education Research Group. University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Retrieved from http://csunplugged.org/activities/ on June 22, 2016.
Engelberg, M. (September, 2015) 3 reasons Coding Should Be a Core Subject. Retrieved from http://gettingsmart.com/2015/09/3-reasons-coding-should-be-a-core-subject/ on June 22, 2016.
Sehringer, G. (2012) Should We Really Try to Teach Everyone to Code? Retreived from http://www.wired.com/insights/2015/02/should-we-really-try-to-teach-everyone-to-code/ on June 21, 2016.
Stieben, D. (October, 2014) 6 Superb Reasons Why you Should Use Linux for Programming. Retreived from http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/6-superb-reasons-use-linux-programming/ on June 23, 2016.