Video: Teaching Kids to Code | A Blog for Principals and Teachers – School Matters

 
 

Video: Teaching Kids to Code

 
 

 

 


What are the advantages of teaching kids to code? Millions watched the viral video on code.org trying to convince the younger generation to learn to code. But is the reason to learn coding to get a high powered job where you sit around in a beautiful office, making tons of money and eating fancy free food or to learn problem solving skills and perseverance? Watch the video and find out!

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6 Comments

  1. Lynne says:

    It seems strange to me, as a teacher, that people are claiming we do not “teach kids to code”. Schools teach the basic skills of coding all the time. We teach students how to break down problems into steps, how to analyze a task into stages. how to describe how to do something in a procedure, how to illustrate a task in a flowchart or other graphic organizer. All of these things are the building blocks of coding, and it begins early and goes throughout many strands of the curriculum all the way through school. Will this lead to children becoming programmers? Some, maybe. Lots? Maybe, maybe not. I could have become a coder/programmer. I knew about it. I knew it was in demand. Why didn’t I? Didn’t I want a lucrative career and a fancy workplace? Well, yeah, I did. However, I did NOT want to code. Just like I didn’t want to become an electrician, or a plumber (both high-demand careers too). I find coding tedious, frustrating, and uninspiring. I LOVE tech and I love using it. I also LOVE driving my car. I don’t want to have to know the nitty gritty details of how to dis- and re-assemble either. So, in a nutshell, should we teach coding? We already do. Should we teach it more in depth? Maybe. Will it lead to hundreds of thousands of coders and programmers? I doubt it.
    p.s. I liked YOUR video.

  2. Drew says:

    Kate— Well said! I think one of the crucial differences in coding computer software vs. learning to write out or illustrate procedures is that computers are shockingly weak at understanding “intent”. Computers tend to unsympathetically try to do what they are told. I’m a bit on the fence as to whether the right way to introduce coding to kids is with some graphical puzzle piece representation of programs or with a textual high level language like Python. I do agree that people need to learn that they will create bugs and that the work is in figuring out and fixing those bugs. If it works the first time, you probably didn’t test it thoroughly enough.

    When we had a discussion of the code.org video over on my blog (rdrewd.blogspot.com) the consensus seemed to be that the video over promises. You still won’t be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound and maybe you’ll still have to pay for your own lunch. Writing computer software is an interesting skill that is likely to become an element in more and more jobs in the future. I absolutely expect some fraction of the students to conclude it’s an activity that they can’t stand, but a few may find it interesting enough to learn more. There’s no shortage of “more” to learn.

    Keep up the good work!

  3. Shannon says:

    I also agree with Lynn. Coding is not for everyone and what we do teach is Tue basic foundation to coding. So if someone wants to continue down the coding path then they can.

  4. Lynne makes some excellent points. I used the Logo programming language in the 80s to “teach college freshman problem solving” with mixed results. While the experience was not for every student, they all agreed that after the course, they appreciated to a much deeper degree the complexity of the software they used in their other courses — like spreadsheets and word processors and they understood why it took teams of programmers over years of time to develop and evolve operating systems.

    At a conference, I ask Edsger Dijkstra, one of the pioneers of structured programming if he thought that programming fostered problem-skills or it was the case that people with good problem-solving skills naturally gravitated and excelled in computer programming. He answered, The latter”. I was hoping he’d answer the other way and to this day I think no one knows the answer.

    However, I do know this: Writing allows one to examine their thinking. Writing clarifies thought. And I don’t think anyone will argue against the proposition that clear thinking is a prerequisite to problem solving. So, let’s concentrate on teaching writing for now, starting as early as possible and continuing for as long as possible because writing, like any art/craft we get better with practice guided by a competent and caring teacher. We don’t need coders as much as we need thoughtful citizens.

  5. Ms Lena says:

    I agree w Stewart. To teach them a good problem-solving skills, schools would need logics classes for clear thinking and strong analytical skills, reverse engineering (ask why, why, why, why, and why), the foundation of strong coding.

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