I was very excited to read TWO articles in this months edition of Tech & Learning both dealing with coding in the classroom. Now, if you had asked me two years ago what in the world coding was, I would have probably thought that it was either something my doctor's office did with my medical chart or if you caught me in a more intelligent moment I would have thought it had something to do with the laborious and sometimes mind-numbing exercise known as HTML (or XHTML or HTML5 whatever your pleasure). Don't get me wrong, taking that class during my master's coursework was well worth it but I still have to refer back to my manual at least once a week in order to solve a coding problem.
But I digress, while I can or could see the merit in grown ups learning how to code for web purposes, etc. I had no idea on this earth why you would want a child to learn how to do this. Until about a year ago. I was introduced to a wonderful website called Kodable. Now, at the time I was teaching a bubbly group of second graders who (according to their biased teacher) were very advanced for their age. So, I introduced Kodable as one of our rotating math and literacy stations. And guess what? They absolutely loved it. Kodable teaches computer programming in a fun, challenging format where students tell, through a series of directional commands, their little fuzzy how to move to make it through the maze and collect coins at the same time. I even brought it home and let my eldest try it out.
The beauty of teaching children early about coding is that this is a universal language. Comptuers are everywhere. And computers need code to perform. You don't have to aspire to be a computer programmer to need these skills. Imagine you are an aspiring fashion designer who is going to rely heavily on computer technology to manufacture your designs. How beneficial will it be to you to be able to pinpoint a flaw in the code of your design in order to prevent thousands of dollars of wasted merchandise? I cannot think of any job in today's economy off the top of my head that does not utilize computers in some fashion...even if it is just a time card.
There are several websites out their that use gaming as a way to introduce and facilitate the learning of basic codes. I have my favorites so far listed below. You should check out the two articles as well.
Hi! My name is Allison Barton, a former elementary school teacher turned Technology Integration Specialist at Greenville High School in Greenville, South Carolina. I have been teaching for 11 years and have relied on technology during that time to excite, engage, and educate my students (both young and old). I also enjoy very much sharing my knowledge about technology with other teachers.