Join Kevin Brookhouser for an in-depth discussion in this video The case for coding, part of Teaching Future-Ready Students.
- I'm going to explain what coding is and argue that coding should be explored in every class, of every school, from kindergarten to the twelfth grade. Teachers don't need to be coders to make that happen. Coding is computer programming. It's learning to define a problem and break the solution down into logical, step-by-step actions a computer can understand. It's also an amazing way to gain power over your life.
Without basic technological literacy, the doors to almost every position that pays a living wage are closed. We struggle to stay informed and connected as citizens, and we're deeply limited in our daily lives if we don't have access to the knowledge and resources available online. Yet, while we continue to teach reading, writing, and arithmetic to every child in every grade, we struggle to teach the fundamental skills of computing.
We are meeting this resistance because a lot of educators are afraid of technology. First off, the culture of education has a bias toward tradition. Many of us teachers remember the school we grew up in and believed, "Hey, it worked pretty well for us!" We tend to find that same model and create that for our students. After all, no one gets fired for teaching the three Rs. So, it's a big leap for most of us to start teaching technology.
Coding, in particular, is a foreign language. A lot of us teachers don't know what it is, so we're scared to bring it into the classroom. Worse of all, we're used to being the experts in class. And now, some of our students know more than we do about tech. But coding can be easy. With a little bit of basic math and an open mind, anyone can do it. And it's okay to be learning alongside our students, because that's the new reality.
The way learning used to happen is someone would go to school, learn the content from an expert, then use that knowledge for a job for the rest of his or her life. But that's not how careers work anymore. Learning is now a constant practice, where everyone is required to take on new skills all the time. We teachers need to model this for our students. We need to be learning animals. We need to show that we're constantly exploring and growing.
This new model is, "Hey, I've got this problem I want to solve, "and I want to learn these new skills to solve it." One great place to start is coding. Not only do we get to explore the technology that dominates our lives, we give our students a sense of control over their devices. For instance, I lead a class on how to create Android applications. Here's an app that my student made that helps users identify and eliminate invasive plants.
My students are thrilled to upload software they've created to their own phones and have those devices follow their commands. When we give students agency over technology, they become wizards who use tech to do good.
- Understanding the new literacies
- Motivating problem solvers
- Inspiring divergent thinking with Limbo
- Bringing 20time into the classroom
- Guiding creative learners
- Finding the right mentor for entrepreneurial kids
- Making elevator pitches
- Grading entrepreneurial projects
- Telling stories through video
- Creating screencast video
- Capturing video with a smartphone
- Editing videos on YouTube
- Teaching code
- Designing apps
- Incorporating coding activities in the classroom