Coding is becoming more and more of a necessary skill to have in the workplace, but many schools are lagging behind on its implementation into the classroom. With how quickly technology is changing, it is difficult to keep up with the ever-evolving demand for coding. Educators, however, should understand just how important it is to teach coding to their students.
Developing School Coding Programs
An article that gives impressive insight into this topic is Coding to consistency in K12 schools, written by Nancy Mann Jackson. It covers the reasons behind teaching coding as well as provides useful tips for getting a program started.
Jackson writes about how it’s impossible for anybody to know the specific role that coding will play in future jobs, but it is likely that as technology advances, coding knowledge will only increase in value. That being said, there are many benefits for teaching coding besides the explicit knowledge it gives students, such as how it aids in students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. For this reason, schools should consider making it a regular part of their curriculum.
Jackson Gives 6 Strategies for Implementing Coding
We’ve summarized these strategies below, but encourage you to check out the full article here.
1. Code with partners. The first piece of advice that the article offers is to establish local partnerships within the community to help fund and implement the coding program. The partnerships can also allow awareness—through media and other means—to be spread about the program. Jackson goes into greater depth and provides examples of community partnerships.
2. Incorporate coding at all grade levels. Many districts are teaching coding to younger students, treating the subject more like general education than a specialized skill, then letting the students later choose to continue down that path or divert from it.
3. Tie coding into academic priorities. Jackson talks about the benefits of teaching coding, bringing attention to the fact that many aspects of coding coincide with other subjects like language, math, and science.
4. Rely on your IT team’s expertise. Jackson writes, “Most school districts have chief information officers and information technology professionals who can lend valuable expertise to a coding program.” Allow these experts to have some control over the program, and give them enough time to collaborate with the curriculum teams.
5. Provide PD in coding. The coding landscape is constantly evolving and advancing, and teachers need to stay current on these changes if they are to be effective educators within the program.
6. Cut costs by using available resources. Finally, this article briefly covers how schools should do everything they can to cut costs and utilize already existing resources, such as student Chromebooks, free coding apps, and so on.
With the many benefits that coding seems to bring to schools and students’ future careers, it’s a wonder why more districts haven’t been actively engaged in implemented this subject into their classrooms.