There are two trends that will help shape this future:
1. Creating software will get easier. Coding has been a complex and highly-technical process, and hasn’t changed much since the Internet was first invented 50 years ago. Very few people–even those who work as developers, are able to build an entire app or game from scratch. However, we’re now on the cusp of a revolution in the way that code is written. As tech advances in this area, it will allow more and more people to create with code, shaping an entirely new generation of creators.
2. New generations will be inspired to build the types of content that were second-nature to them growing up. We see this today with the current generation of students who grew up with online video, where their number one career aspiration is becoming a “YouTuber.” The next generation of students is growing up with games and interactive content, and will naturally be inspired to participate in creating this type of content down the line.
With this in mind, there are a few ways educators can bring technology to the classroom today in ways that will position students for success in years to come.
As a starting point, educators should consider applying code to other subjects and leveraging the power of creating interactive content, such as games and apps, to demonstrate knowledge and use within project-based learning assignments.
Code does not need to be structured in one-off sessions or special assignments. A classic example of this is book reports. What was once limited to a written summary or a scrappy art poster was soon brought into the digital era with tools like PowerPoint and Prezi. Applying this to current times, it’s not uncommon for students to record YouTube-style videos to communicate their knowledge. Looking to the next generation of students, they’ll use tools like Koji to make games that retell stories in new ways and give them the opportunity to use a new medium to express their learning.
Educators can also use technology to encourage students to become active creators of content, instead of passive consumers. Technology, games, and interactive entertainment are the future, and it’s obvious that students today can’t get enough. This leads to interesting and wary conversations about screen time, child-appropriate content, and the role games/entertainment play in the classroom. One of the reasons we’re so cautious of the content students consume is rooted in the idea that they are passively consuming it without actually understanding what they’re watching.
With new platforms and easy-to-use tools available, we have the opportunity to invert this scenario and give students the ability to participate by creating content themselves. This new type of literacy gives students invaluable insights into the world behind the screen, similar to the way that teaching students journalism fundamentals can help them spot misinformation online.
If we want students to be well-positioned to participate in the world of tomorrow, we need to help them understand code as a new creative medium. Code should not be siloed inside computer science classes–it should exist as a tool available for students in every subject and for all kinds of projects. To further support this, educators need to expand their definition of code beyond the textbook description. Code is not always in the form of lines of text on a screen or blocks snapping together. It now involves students’ leaning to the power of creation and using tools along the way to help express themselves by building games, apps, and software today.
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