Some have called coding the "new woodshop." It's a skill that students can use throughout their academic journey and in their future careers. Students should be introduced to coding concepts at an early age, so they are familiar with these principles as they grow older. In this way, we can prepare students for jobs that don’t even exist yet.
Here are some ideas for bringing coding into your instruction.
Emphasize creativity. First and foremost, highlight that coding means being creative! There’s a stereotype that coding and computer programming are for math wizards or geeks -- this scares people away (kids and adults alike). Coding is all about creating and making things come to life -- drawings, pictures, games, robots and much more.
Play games. Games can help students develop the skills that make up the building blocks of coding. Interactive games like Simon Says help students problem solve and think critically and quickly. Cubetto and Robot Turtles are other good choices. Cubetto allows students to direct the movements of a robot by moving blocks and pegs on a board. Robot Turtles instructs players to follow movement instructions to get a turtle through a maze. Two to five people can play the latter, making it a good opportunity for collaboration.
Highlight patterns. Present concepts that require students to recognize patterns and strategy, such as building and navigating a maze, or creating a parachute out of cups and tissue paper. These are great activities that incorporate basic coding skills into a lesson.
Make coding mandatory. This might seem extreme, but at The Village School, coding is required for middle school students. It’s human nature to not want to try something you don’t understand (and who understands coding at first?). In addition, technology has a track record of filtering out girl’s participation. By making coding mandatory, many girls try it and might find their true passion.
Gabriella Rowe is the Head of School at The Village School
Tech Tips is a weekly column in SmartBrief on EdTech. Have a tech tip to share? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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