Hello World! : Coding in the Classroom

A New Kind of Literacy

Computer programming is the fundamental science behind an increasing amount of objects that we interact with in our daily lives. Without coding or computer science, there would be no iPhones, televisions, traffic signals, or Finding Nemo. But how many of us had the opportunity to pick up this essential skill while rising through the ranks of primary and secondary school? As Hadi and Ali Partovi, co-founders of Code.org, recently stated in an article for the Huffington Post, “only 9 states even recognize computer science as a math or science! Only 10% of schools even offer it.” With technology, and tech-related jobs, on the rise, shouldn’t we be trying to prepare our students as much as we can for the job market that they will be exposed to? Code.org has also released a video to attempt to ease some apprehension surrounding coding, which you can view by following this link or simply by clicking below:


The Rationale

“Okay,” you are probably saying at this point, “but can’t we just leave the programming to the programmers?” After all, there are already people who are more than happy to take up these jobs. John Naughton at the Guardian formed an excellent analogy in his article, appropriately titled, “Why all our kids should be taught how to code.” He said, “we made the mistake of thinking that learning about computing is like learning to drive a car, and since a knowledge of internal combustion technology is not essential for becoming a proficient driver, it followed that an understanding of how computers work was not important for our children.” I might even go so far as to suggest that a glossary knowledge of automobiles also be added to an effective curriculum. The goal is to arm students with as much relevant knowledge as we can before we kick them out of the proverbial nest and into “the real world.” If coding is one of these tools, I’ll be the first to say, “I’m in.”

code

The Next Move

If we continue to pigeonhole coding as a “math issue” or a “science issue” or even a “computer science issue,” no progress will be made anytime soon. Coding could be considered just as essential to the English language arts curriculum as reading, writing, speaking, or listening. ELA education is founded in provided students essential life skills, including problem-solving and appreciation for other cultures. Coding can be just another vehicle for this grand task. In fact, Parmy Olsen, for an article at Forbes.com, covered the inclusion of coding into the curricula of 550 schools in Estonia. She said of the bold decision to incorporate coding from first grade on, “the idea isn’t to start churning out app developers of the future, but people who have smarter relationships with technology, computers and the Web.” It seems that each new day brings a new technology to our doorstep. For ourselves and our students, these technologies should not be foreigners to us. In fact, it is computer science and the Web that help make our society a global society. Ultimately, it is time to dig into coding and connect to the globe. It all starts by saying, “Hello World!”

computer_guy

For more resources on learning to code, check out:

Code.org – www.code.org

Code School – http://www.codeschool.com/

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One thought on “Hello World! : Coding in the Classroom

  1. Oh man! That video was amazing. Like Chris Bosh says, “a lot of things are intimidating.” I can’t lie, even after watching that video I am incredibly intimidated. I can never see myself actually reading and writing code, but I desperately want to now. Through coding we can change the world. We do change the world. What an absolutely necessary skill that they just omit from education. Think of the potential teaching coding at a middle or high school level could have for the future of our society.

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