Care to support a push to promote Computer Science in schools?
Most schools don’t have it as a foundational class, so leaders from across the US –which includes the Zuckerbergs, Cooks, Schmitdts and Gates’ of this world — have begun a movement to petition our political leaders.
You could find it here at Change.Org.
The petition was started by Code.org founder Hari Partovi., and is also supported by governors and school districts, not just the private sector. Please give it your consideration.
My colleague and robotics coach, Donna Horn gave me a Wall Street Journal article on Coding that’s worth sharing. It’s about why coding shouldn’t be so intimidating (at least to us teachers who didn’t learn to code).
Titled “We want our children to code, even if we can’t.” it argues why this is a skill we need to introduce early and often. Reading. Writing, and Coding…The timing of the article is not accidental.
February is when Coding fills the news, since Digital Learning Day is on Feb 17th. This year we have plenty to pick from –the usual powerhouses Code.Org and Khan Academy. There’s also Scratch, and other visual programming tools. Plus, there’s Mindstorms, the visual programming language we use in robotics.
Grant Smith, a tech writer for Edutopia makes a god point about teaching coding in schools. We need to set the stage first by (a) Curating the resources into the curriculum (b) Organizing the classroom to be coder-friendly and (c) Rallying around those who might support your initiative. Including use some of the social media tools to build one’s personal learning network or PLN.
I’m planning on getting experts to come into the classroom, and teach.Ideally I’m thinking of App developers, from surrounding tech companies.
Please contact me if you know of someone!
I began introducing coding to my 5th grade classes this year, and the interest level is truly inspiring. I was planning to up the ante in the next school year. Looks like my timing couldn’t have be better.
Many stories have begun to appear about how Coding is being pulled into the curriculum.
The latter piece (by Matt Richtel, 10, May 2014) weighs in on the pros and cons, especially wondering if there’s something iffy about having big-name backers such as Microsoft and Facebook. The insinuation is that they may have vested interests in this, and not be interested in the bigger picture of inspiring the science in computer science.
That’s being a bit too snarky. After all, the ‘career ready’ jobs that educators talk up so much are in such spaces that the present and future Gates’ and Zuckerbergs will create and nurture. I want these kids to glide into those plum jobs, ten years from now. That the runway is being paved with corporate dollars –and their sweat– is not necessary a bad thing, is it?
Also, teaching students to code is not trying to turn them into over-paid kids working out of a coffee shop. Making computer science a mainstream discipline, not a nice-to-have, is a place to start.
If you really want to know the grand plan of computer science, here is an illuminating document on Computer Science Standards for K-12 by the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA). Some of the points they stress:
- CS’s role in “logical reasoning, algorithms thinking, and structural problem-solving.”
- The value of being closely aligned with business people, scientists, artists etc.
- Teaching students to work ‘cooperatively’ and ‘collaboratively’
- Teaching ‘Computational thinking’ –from data representation to problem solving
Sounds a lot like Common Core to me. This is what educators in CS have thought through, calling for us to embed these skills as early as Kindergarten. This is not something that grew out of Silicon Valley.
It’s time we put it into practice. The kids are hungry for this!