Teaching them to Code, one block at a time

My colleague and robotics coach, Donna Horn gave me a Wall Street Journal article on Coding that’s worth sharing. It’s about why coding shouldn’t be so intimidating (at least to us teachers who didn’t learn to code).

Titled “We want our children to code, even if we can’t.” it argues why this is a skill we need to introduce early and often. Reading. Writing, and Coding…The timing of the article is not accidental.

February is when Coding fills the news, since Digital Learning Day is on Feb 17th. This year we have plenty to pick from –the usual powerhouses Code.Org and Khan Academy. There’s also Scratch, and other visual programming tools. Plus, there’s Mindstorms, the visual programming language we use in robotics.

Grant Smith, a tech writer for Edutopia makes a god point about teaching coding in schools. We need to set the stage first by (a) Curating the resources into the curriculum  (b) Organizing the classroom to be coder-friendly and (c) Rallying around those who might support your initiative. Including use some of the social media tools to build one’s personal learning network or PLN.

I’m planning on getting experts to come into the classroom, and teach.Ideally I’m thinking of App developers, from surrounding tech companies.

Please contact me if you know of someone!

Learning to Code (with a little help from Zuckerberg)

Starting tomorrow, being Digital learning Day, I plan to start using Code.Org, the site that lets a student learn coding, and understand the syntax behind an interactive website.

Code.Org is backed by two of the most recognized coders in the world: Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, and Bill –needs no introduction– Gates. Partners include Amazon, Apple, Google, Yahoo, Khan Academy, and Saleforce.com

One of the goals of Code.org is to introduce Computer Science into the math and science “Core” curriculum. The thinking behind this push is to make students excited about computer science, which tends to be confused with Technology Literacy, and ‘education technology.’

Indeed, it’s never too early to get students fired up about the ‘science’ of what makes computers so interactive. Even if it means introducing a Red Bird into class.

As the site says, this is for those age six to… 106! Which means you qualify, too!