Coding is the New Cool

The month of December was packed with coding experiences and I feel incredibly fortunate in that I was immersed in many.  My intended goal in terms of exposure was successful.  Did several second and third grade classrooms learn the basics of computer programming?  Absolutely!  Is the desire to code spreading rapidly?  Definitely!  Are more classes trying it out this month?  YES!

So it forces me to think; what is it about coding?  Where is the magic?  My own curiosity was originally ignited by What Most Schools Don’t Teach from code.org, which I’ve shared with many teachers and students over the past two years.  The message about empowerment and humanity being at the heart of computer programming really seems to resonate with all of us regardless of age.  Of course, students are jumping out of their seats when they see the offices where many in the field of computer science get to work.  By the end of the video, just about every kid in the room wants to be a computer programmer when he or she grows up!

Although a few years old, check out this powerful video, What Most Schools Don’t Teach.

Sharing something exploding with inspiration is certainly a start, but what’s the fuel that’s driving this continued learning?  Based on what I have seen transpire over the past month, it goes well beyond programming.  Teachers and students have come together, and the discoveries that have blossomed are truly remarkable.  Through numerous activities (both plugged and unplugged!) creativity, risk taking, patience, vulnerability, collaboration, empathy, and courage have taken the reigns.  When students (and teachers!) feel these 21st century skills come to life in their own hearts and minds, they crave more.

Check out our own unique video representing the growing coding culture at Elmwood School.

What are students saying?

Coding has taught me…

how to use symbols to make a robot move.

to do better cooperation.

more about directions.

that a world without coding would be a world without fun.

that it’s okay to make mistakes.

how to read directions and how to debug.

What I like about coding is…

that it will help me when I become a video game designer.

it helps me discover and learn.

you get to program the app or robot yourself.  You’re in charge.

it makes you think.

I get to figure out some problems and be like a robot.

I can work together with my friends.

that is it challenging.

that there’s more than one way to do it.

I can always go back and try again.

that it’s everywhere.

that if there was no coding, video games wouldn’t even exist.

What are teachers saying?

It’s not as intimidating as I thought.

It’s accessible to everyone.

The students were highly engaged and up for even more challenging tasks. 

I have found that coding almost comes naturally to the students.

I think it’s neat to see them collaborating together.

I think it has lots of use and application for real life.  It goes beyond subjects.  It’s executive functioning.

It teaches students to be patient.

Students love it!  It’s very self-motivating.

Coding builds confidence allowing students to shine in a new area and help their classmates.

I’m thrilled to report that by the end of January, every classroom at Elmwood School will have coded.  In addition, many classrooms have adopted coding as part of their culture and every day more and more students are coding at home, because they have found a new passion.  I have come to believe that coding really is the new cool and can’t wait to help ignite more experiences with teachers and students over the next several months.

 

 

 

 

 

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