Yearly one-day events meant to promote critical subject areas not taught within traditional curriculum, like computer science and coding, are great for awareness. But outside of these specific days, how can teachers continue seamlessly integration of the concepts learned? What resources are available outside of those provided by the Hour of Code and Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek)? And are these resources good for teachers not well-versed in coding?
These are the main questions experts answered during edWeb.net’s celebration of CSEdWeek (December 5-11), an annual initiative that aims to inspire K-12 students to take interest in computer science. During this annual program, schools around the world host their own Hour of CodeTM. Organized by Code.org, Hour of Code is a one-hour basic introduction designed to celebrate and expand participation in computer science.
This year, two of edWeb.net’s professional learning communities (PLC) presented webinars that highlighted not only the importance of coding and computer science in education, but what educators can do after this special week to continue teaching computer science and coding in their classroom.
Beyond the Hour of Code: Implementation for All
Because coding helps students develop the 4 Cs of 21st century learning (communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking/problem solving), helps them with learning to learn (or recognizing that they can learn on their own) and helps develop a mentality of a 21st century world, experts recommend teaching coding throughout the year, and not just one day or week per year.
The Coding & Robotics K-8 PLC, sponsored by Wonder Workshop, hosted the webinar, “Beyond the Hour of Code: Implementation for All,” on December 6th. Bryan Miller, educator community manager at Wonder Workshop, and Kiki Prottsman, curriculum development manager at Code.org®, presented on how to continue coding in the classroom after holding an Hour of Code.
Throughout the webinar, they addressed issues often encountered by schools including:
- why coding should be taught in schools and what students learn through coding
- struggles teachers face after completing an Hour of Code
- how to fit coding into a typical school day
- resources and funding available for schools to continue to teach coding
“In the year 2020 we’ll have 1.4 million jobs that will be available in the area of coding and computer science…yet only .4 million students are actually being prepared for that,” said Miller, stating a statistic from Code.org. Thankfully, said Miller, it is now easier than ever to integrate coding into the classroom with curricula like those on Code.org, and learning tools like Wonder Workshop’s robots Dot and Dash.
(Next page: First steps and resources for after the Hour of Code)
Where to Start if You’re Unfamiliar
In schools that wish to have coding become a regular part of the curriculum, where do educators begin if they are unfamiliar with the subject?
The Digital Learning & Leadership PLC, hosted by Common Sense Education and sponsored by Symantec, hosted the webinar, “Now I Have to Teach Coding? A Beginner’s Guide,” on December 8th. James Denby, curriculum and course designer for IdeaDrivenEducation and Eduro Learning, and common sense ambassador; and Robin Ulster, curriculum and course designer for IdeaDrivenEducation and Eduro Learning, presented simple ways to teach coding to beginners using methods and tools that educators can also use when learning coding for the first time.
James and Robin suggested trying unplugged activities that don’t require technology or devices to teach concepts of coding like sequencing, looping, and events.
They also recommended tools like Kodable, Blockly Games, Hopscotch, and Scratch. Many of these programs incorporate pseudo code, which is an easier first step before learning a real coding language. These tools are great for not only students, but teachers who are also coding beginners.
James and Robin emphasized that making mistakes is all part of the process. “We think it’s a way of building resilience…it’s a way of reinforcing what you are learning,” said James. This is something that was highlighted in both webinars.
Join the Coding & Robotics K-8 Community
Teachers looking for more resources, advice, and peer and expert support should also consider joining coding and computer science learning communities.
Coding & Robotics K-8 is bringing together thought leaders, technical experts, leading-edge educators, and industry leaders to provide educators with new information, resources, ideas, and a place for discussion on how to teach coding and robotics, and how to integrate computer science and coding theory into core subjects, especially for students in grades K-8.
Join the community to access tools to engage students in creative instruments that combine computational thinking with real-world application.
Join the Digital Learning & Leadership Community
Digital Learning & Leadership brings the latest information in teaching with technology and subjects like designing digital learning experiences and lessons, applying learning models (SAMR, TPACK, flipped classroom, game-based learning, and more), finding and evaluating high-quality ed-tech, using social media in the classroom and for professional growth, building a positive school culture of digital citizenship, and helping parents guide kids’ media use.
Join the community to connect with others, participate in discussion, and gain access to resources.
“Beyond the Hour of Code: Implementation for All” was hosted by edWeb.net and sponsored by Wonder Workshop.
“Now I Have to Teach Coding? A Beginner’s Guide” was hosted by edWeb.net and Common Sense Education and sponsored by Symantec.
The recordings of the two webinars can be viewed by anyone at:
[Editor’s note: This piece is original content produced by edWeb.net.View more edWeb.net events here.]