Nancy López – IT teacher
Janine Cervi – Y2 teacher
Clara González – Y2 teacher
After having been working on coding fundamentals for some time, we have noticed that students have not only become more confident with their own programming skills, but also have developed their creativity, problem solving skills, and their ability to work collaboratively.
“Coding refers to a list of rules, written in one of numerous programming languages, that instructs a computer to do what a user wants it to do: perform a sequence of instructions, repeat a sequence of instructions a prescribed number of times, and test whether a sequence was performed correctly. Many educators believe that coding helps children to understand how computers work, to communicate their thoughts through structure and logic, to think critically, and to be successful in the increasingly digital workplace. Code.org recently stated that computing occupations are among the fastest growing and best paying jobs in the US, and that there are currently 500,000 unfilled jobs in that sector. To better prepare learners from a young age, an increasing number of school leaders and technologists are making the case for embedding coding into K–12 curricula.”
New Media Consortium, Horizon Report 2017 K–12
As mentioned in our previous post, we started this year with an introduction to Coding. Before working with the Code.org platform, we engaged students in a whole class discussion. We talked about what coding was and why we do it. They showed enthusiasm about knowing that they were going to be able to “speak” the computers’ language and therefore control them.
On our first coding lesson we introduced students to Code Studio. This year we intentionally did not create a username for each student because we wanted them to be responsible for keeping track of their own progress. In order to do so, we designed a chart where they register the lessons and exercises they have completed. We believe this allows kids to work on graphing and data processing in a more meaningful way.
Additionally to this, every time students finish a course they print a certificate of completion, which encourages them to keep on coding.
With our plan for the year and objectives in mind, we decided to schedule coding lessons twice or three times a month so that children could learn the basics of coding, that they could later on transfer to other areas. In addition, we included frequent teacher and student metacognitive instances that allowed us to reflect and evaluate our teaching practices and learning experiences. For example, one of the things that we have been asking ourselves about, is the effectiveness of the chart and if it is worth its implementation.
The children have been working hard and are very happy with their results. Several students who do not usually stand out in everyday lessons, have become coding experts and have been able to help others who are finding it hard. As lessons go by, coding has become more challenging for them, but their enthusiasm and effort has not weakened.