When we think of “coding” we tend to limit its abilities to name = raw_input ( ‘An Image Of Complex Characters\n’ ) when in reality its something more profound, something that relates more to how our students learn.
Coding, is about telling a story, and it is through this lens of storytelling that our students, starting in first grade this fall, will use coding to share the story of their learning.
After speaking at an educational technology conference in Austin, Texas, and spending five days collaborating with the some of the world’s most innovative educators at the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute in Miami, I heard first-hand from educators the world over who use coding in elementary grades to give students a new way to share their ideas and understanding. (Quick shot out to (Richard Wells, Douglas Kiang, and Sam Patterson).
When integrating coding into our students learning, we want to focus on its essential process, as well as the skills that they can acquire, such as logic, critical thinking, and computational thinking. With this mindset, students will then see how coding can help them communicate ideas in Judaic Studies, Math, Science, History, and a multitude of their learning experiences. Using apps on the iPad like Scratch Jr. and Hopscotch, students will use block based coding to tell their own story, and how their learning in the classroom has made an impact.
Students are first introduced to coding by understanding why it is so important. When students understand that coding is behind many amazing apps and other digital experiences, then they begin to understand how coding can empower them to create these experiences themselves. This why, before how approach is one of the key ingredients in the success of any educational technology program. If a student in first grade can be encouraged to explore and create a disaster relief app, or a new way for children to share their life with their grandparents, then coding becomes more than just an experience, it becomes a tool for students to create new things that others can benefit from.