Nancy López – IT teacher
Janine Cervi – Y2 teacher
Clara González – Y2 teacher
Our journey started last year when we decided to introduce coding to our second graders. We were aware of the worldwide movement that promotes coding among young learners and that it is believed to have a great impact on higher order skills development. So we decided to start working with coding fundamentals, using Code.org as our main resource. Code.org is a non-profit organization that hosts a website promoting computer science. We guided and accompanied our second graders through this challenge and we were really surprised with the outcomes. As they became more confident with their own coding skills we noticed that they were not only improving their programming skills, but also their creativity, problem solving skills, and their ability to work collaboratively. Several students who do not usually stand out in everyday lessons, became coding experts and were able to help others that were struggling. Due to these motivating results we decided to move forward and incorporated robotics as a way to link programming with the physical world.
Last year’s successful experience was the diving board to plunge into a new endeavor. We wondered if the cognitive skills learnt through coding could be transferred to other areas and decided to experience coding not as a rather isolated topic, but as an integrated part of the curriculum. Furthermore, we wondered if those skills could be transferred to areas beyond the curriculum. Therefore we embarked on a research-based project to find answers to these questions.
We have designed a plan to carry out this year in which we integrate coding into the curriculum. We have divided our project into four stages. As we consider this project to be a learning process these phases are deeply connected. This project will also focus on the development of a digital curriculum as well as fostering creativity and innovation.
“Students who use metacognitive strategies are the most effective learners.” (Tomlinson and McTighe, 2006).
We also believe that reflecting about our own thinking makes us better learners and teachers, so we consider that having metacognitive instances throughout our project will make a difference.
“You’re not doing innovation just for the sake of being different, because “innovation” is the catchy new phrase of the day. You’re identifying existing challenges in the classroom. You’re discovering how technology can be a potential for addressing those challenges.” (Jennie Magiera)
After last year’s approach to coding and the impact it had in our students, we are excited about the changes we can make in this year´s Coding project and we are ready to face every challenge that will appear along the way. Because, after all, we are not just coding for the fun of it, we are fostering and developing relevant skills that overpass technology and are fundamental for our students to embrace their own learning processes and become more effective learners.