Interest in K-12 coding and computer programming has increased tenfold in recent years, due in part to the nation’s need for highly-qualified computer programming graduates to fill jobs that sit empty.
But there’s a disconnect between students’ interest, advocacy for coding education, and what schools actually offer. Ninety percent of parents want their child to study computer science, but only 40 percent of schools teach computer programming, according to Code.org.
After participating in the Hour of Code during Computer Science Education Week, one district’s technology team wanted to sustain students’ interest in computer science and wanted to offer something different for students who were recommended for enrichment.
“The Gifted and Talented Department felt technology skills weren’t addressed full-time with our students, so during the summer we had the opportunity to grow beyond the Hour of Code,” said Arabella Castillo, a technology trainer and specialist with Laredo Independent School District (LISD) in Texas, during a TCEA presentation.
The district’s Instructional Technology and Gifted and Talented departments collaborated to launch LISD’s first summer coding program. Teachers who facilitated the summer program received professional development (PD) to learn how to implement lessons. Code.org helped get the program rolling, but Castillo recommends asking for help from anyone in the school or district who has a solid understanding of coding and programming. The three-week program taught 300 students in grades 3-5.
(Next page: 8 lessons learned from the summer coding program)