I am an advocate for teaching students skills and attitudes that will be of use in their future life. In some cases these are orientated to the individuals personal needs; other times to the needs of society. Coding is one of those skills that perhaps can be placed in both categories. As we evolve in reliance on technology to do everything from programming the oven to setting the temperature in our homes, more and more I am convinced that understanding computer language is an important component of every students' future life. A component that is sorely lacking from curricula in Nova Scotia.
On January 23, 2014, the Liberal party of New Brunswick came forth with a recommendation for teaching coding in their provincial school system (http://nbliberal.ca/blog/post-news/liberals-push-for-coding-to-be-taught-in-schools/). Brian Gallant, leader of the NB Liberal party states that “Many students do not pursue ICT in their post-secondary studies due to a lack of awareness or information. We have a generation of students who are comfortable using technology, but who are unable to create technology. If we want to move our economy forward, it’s essential that we begin developing those creators.” The purpose then is an important one. To provide jobs and economic growth to the community. Considering that economic policies drive government decision making, it seems a matter of time before educational systems are
Research articles and websites for learning coding skills are popping up with greater frequency. The inference in most being that coding skills provide young people with more than just the ability to design a computer program and create jobs. "These are the Skills Students Learn from Programming" is an article that was circulated via Twitter. It can be found at http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2014/01/these-are-skills-students-learn-from.html. In the article the website EducatorsTechnology.com stresses other more personally relevant reasons to learn computer coding. The argument revolves around the development of a students life long learning skills and attitudes. Arguments more in keeping with educational philosophy:
So, if you are interested, there are many web 2.0 tools that have been created to teach coding skills to students through a game like environment. Many IOS and Android Apps also provide opportunitites. For a list of some of my favorite coding tools click here.
In my school, I have implemented a lunch hour "coding club" for grade 7 and 8 students. I offer a variety of Apps and websites for students to utilize independently or in small groups. The students do not get instruction from me. I facilitate and participate in the learning activities. It is much more fun and engaging in this way. I don't make myself out to be an "expert". I'm just another student looking to learn and have fun doing so. If I can do it, why not you?