Teaching computer coding skills and concepts in the primary grades may sound like a challenge, but now there are hands-on activities and age-appropriate software that engage young students in this type of learning. And, starting the learning process in grades K-2 can build students’ confidence and reduce the challenges they face later when working on coding projects in the upper grades.
During a recent edWebinar, ways to develop early coding skills through playful learning were presented by Leanna Prater, Ed.D., a solution engineer at LEGO Education, and Jennifer Rodabaugh, a classroom teacher and developer of STEAM projects.
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Here are some great ways to introduce early coding to young students
Noting that 80 percent of future jobs will require STEAM skills, Dr. Prater pointed out that workers will also need problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, as well as the ability to collaborate and persevere–all of which can be integrated into inquiry projects that include hands-on activities. Dr. Prater also identified key characteristics of playful learning projects, which include the projects being meaningful, engaging, iterative, and socially interactive for young students.