On a visit to a class in Sitka, Alaska, we watched second grade students gain incredible experiences in computer science skills. The teacher, Cindy Duncan, believes in teaching young children to code, so she begins the year by introducing students to Ozobots through stories.

She used “The Gingerbread Man” and taught dyads of children to develop story characters. “I teach coding and robotics because as an educator it is my job to recognize that my students are global innovators, thinkers and problem solvers,” she explained.

Related content: 6 reasons to support K-5 coding

Everywhere you turn, teachers, parents and others are talking about coding and robotics for learners of all ages. Based deeply on the ideas of Seymour Papert, robotics and coding provide hands-on and creative opportunities for learners to invent, solve problems and create – perhaps the most appropriate implementation of STEM. These experiences provide the opportunity to teach STEM in a multidisciplinary way, with a hands-on approach, which also happens to be engaging and fun.

About the Author:

Lynne Schrum, Ph.D., is author of the ISTE book Learning Supercharged: Digital Age Strategies and Insights from the EdTech Frontier. She is a professor in the Abraham S. Fischler College of Education at Nova Southeastern University in Broward County, Florida. Previously, she served as dean of the College of Education and Human Services at West Virginia University. Her research and teaching focus on appropriate uses of information technology, preparing school leaders and teachers for the 21st century, and effective and successful online teaching and learning. She has written and edited 16 books and numerous articles, and she’s a past editor of the Journal of Research on Technology in Education (JRTE) (2002-12; 2016-18). Schrum is also a past president of ISTE.

Sandi Sumerfield, Ed.D., has been a classroom teacher, literacy coach, administrator, adjunct faculty and education consultant. Her research and teaching focus is on visual literacy skills to empower students as writers and thinkers. She’s passionate about supporting educators in creating a classroom community that embraces social justice and develops a culturally responsive pedagogy that lifts student voice through writing.

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