Sunday, August 27, 2017

Why Teach Coding to Young Children

Coding is the universal language of creativity, invention, analysis, and problem solving.

Those who can code will have a great advantage over those that cannot.

Any language introduced at a young age is grasped with greater ease and enthusiasm.

Therefore coding education should be a mainstay in every child's early schooling.

How should a school system adopt and generate coding education?

First, it's important to identify the coding path a school system will use. This will take a bit of research, and it's possibly best to reach out to experts like Gary Stager and those in the field to find out.

Recently on a trip to Alexandria, Virginia, I had a great discussion about coding with a women who is successful in the cybersecurity field. She told me she's hoping to start teaching her preschooler coding soon since it is so important. She also noted that coders well-versed in cybersecurity from cybersecurity programs, not necessarily college degrees with technology, are starting at $150,000--that's a GOOD starting salary and far more than almost any educator makes. (Though now that I believe in education mostly as a way to boost community and living, not mostly as a way to earn a lot of money).

So what's a teacher to do in the face of all this.

First, advocate for a shift of scheduling at K-12 to include a regular diet of coding.

Next, create incentives for educators K-12 to learn to code, and to embed coding into the disciplines they teach.

Further celebrate the coding that students do, and stay on top of coding efforts, education, and innovation.

So often today, I wish I had good coding skills. For example, the other day, I was analyzing a big amount of data. With a simple code, I could have reduced the time the analysis took and targeted it greatly. That would have made my work more efficient and deep.

Coding lifts us up from the drudgery of at lot of work to the illumination that work can provide--coding does the leg work leaving a lot of the deep analysis and next step thinking/doing to us.

Let's teach all students to code from the earliest ages with Scratch, Jr. and then move forward after that. Do you agree?

Letter to Coding Experts and Enthusiasts

Dear Friend and Coding Expert/Enthusiast,

As I think about the world around me, my research, and a recent discussion with a cybersecurity expert and mom in a beautiful little park in Alexandria, Virginia, I have the following thoughts and questions. I look forward to your response.

First, it seems to me that coding is today's universal language of creativity, innovation, problem solving, and analysis. Do you agree?

Next, as with any language, it seems like coding immersion should occur from PreK-12 and beyond? Do you agree?

After that, it seems that immersion should take place in a consistent way that's engaging, real-world, meaningful, and progressive--right?

And, what would that developmental program look like? What languages would students learn in preK (Scratch, Jr.), later, and after that? Do you have a developmental plan I could look at?

Further, know that I realize coding is one of many streams of learning necessary for good learning and living. I also believe there needs to be strong threads of reading, writing, languages, the arts, health/wellness, history, geography, and of course interdisciplinary science and other technologies.

Thanks for your consult in the days ahead. - Maureen

Note: I'll add relevant articles to the bottom of this post
Why Teach Coding