Fear Behind Code
You're right. You may not fear it, but the fact remains that many approach the subject with a fixed mindset. "Even if educators recognize the importance of teaching computer science and programming [to] their students, they often face their own internal roadblocks." But they may be unaware of the fact that "teachers from all backgrounds" can instruct computer science.
Already, there are those dedicated to changing the stigma behind coding by encouraging fellow educators to practice using professionally engineered games and coding bots to make computer science enjoyable for both their colleagues and students. Now, "nearly one-third of all U.S. students are learning the curriculum of the future."
During an interview with Beau Scott, Director of Curriculum and Professional Development of STEM Education Works and a former elementary school teacher, I asked him four questions about the problems teachers face when integrating coding into their pedagogy as well as the expectations society may have for implementing coding into their school's curriculum. Moreover, we discussed how teachers can begin to prepare their students to help pave the way to their futures.
To listen to the full interview, click on the link directly below.
Giving Students the Power to Code
When asked about the integration of computer science in our school's curriculum, Scott expressed how teachers have an underlying fear that comes with unknown territory—coding.
"Probably 95% of the teachers that are in classrooms, nowadays, don't have coding experience."
Scott explains that this fear that teachers have is much larger than their students' because, in reality, teachers may not be the "expert in their field" and this in itself is daunting when trying to teach a room full of eager learners.
Code.org, Hour of Code, and Scratch are all websites designed to alleviate the trepidation that's associated with coding. Scott expresses how these "simple block-based coding" sites offer a real guide to educators "who haven't done any coding in their education" and, more importantly, they help educators give their students "the experience and opportunities they need" to obtain a basic understanding of computer science.
When asked about how teachers can best prepare their students when teaching them computer science, Scott explains that they can make themselves "a little bit vulnerable." He encourages educators to sit down with their class and say, "Hey, I'm not a pro at this. I'm going to learn alongside you. We're going to make some mistakes together. It's going to be an exciting adventure."
And Scott's not wrong. Code.org finds that letting your students know that failure is natural is actually "one of the top things teachers can do to make their students feel more comfortable" in their computer science classrooms.
Your vulnerability will ultimately express to your students your interest in learning more about computer science and, more importantly, about the progress they are making in the classroom. This alone will convey the message that, while this may be a challenge, everyone will be learning about something entirely contemporary to custom textbook lesson plans.
Coding Made Easy and FUN in the Classroom
STEM Education Works as a whole encourages educators to invest their time and energy into products and websites that will make coding both fun and exciting by simulating this process of learning similar to that of any video game or puzzle—overall giving your students an incentive to learn.
... As Scott says, "If you're learning and you don't know that you're learning, it's so much more fun."
You'll be fascinated to see what your students can do when you give them a little robot they can program on their own. And you may even be surprised by the number of little Einsteins that you have had in your room this whole time.
Check out the coding bots we have available to you!
Contact our Director of Curriculum and Professional Development, Beau Scott, with any questions you may have regarding the interview or STEM Education Works' products: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you liked this article, check out ways to integrate 3D Printing into your classroom here: 9 SECRETS to 3D printing that are essential to every STEM classroom 🤫💭
@STEMeduWorks (Twitter) @stemeducationworks (Instagram)