Why teach Computer Science? It is fast becoming a new literacy, as it definitely runs and organizes a large part of our everyday lives. A child who practices code practices a growth mindset, becomes a creator of technology rather than a consumer of technology and has fun doing it. It is also a great way for teachers to give their students a voice and a choice in their learning.
There is a well known diversity gap in the STEAM workforce. If we can create a spark of interest in computer science for girls and children of color before gender and racial social biases can set in, we will go a long way towards narrowing the gap for the future.
Some teachers may feel unqualified to teach coding because they are not experts themselves. I knew absolutely nothing about coding when I started to teach technology. My husband is a computer programmer and encouraged me to try some coding with Scratch with my students. I still have only a basic understanding of what code can do and my coding stamina is definitely not as strong as the students in my classes, but my students are learning and excelling at understanding what coding can do.
The people who create teaching resources for coding understand that we may not be knowledgeable and make it very simple with video tutorials and engaging lesson plans. Also, it is a great way to let students lead and drive the learning experience. If someone needs help coding in my class and I cannot help them, there is usually a student who is a bit farther ahead who can help.
I started with Scratch, but code.org was what ignited my passion for sharing Computer Science with my students. They lured me into trying The Hour of Code with my students by offering me a free year of Dropbox. My students loved it! Their lessons feature cartoon and movie characters that are current and the students love. They make coding relatively easy and fun. If you sign up on their site they will send you posters and sticker badges to share with your students. It is beneficial to read the advocacy information on the site to inform yourself about why we need to begin teaching CS to our students for their future lives and careers.
There is a Symbaloo of links to CS resources that I have created in another tab on this site. My presentation is also in a tab. It has direct links to my favorite CS sites and activities. I plan to present this information at other conferences this summer, so it will change and grow. Please feel free to check back for updates on the presentation, Symbaloo and where I will be presenting next.
I would love to hear about your experience with Computer Science or coding. Please feel free to comment below!
Thanks for reading,