Coding has become a trend in education. Yet, it is not the first time that computer programming has influence classrooms. When I was in fourth grade, I had my first male teacher. I remember being curious and anxious the night before the first day of fourth grade. I discovered many new interests that year. Little did I know that my teacher was one of kind. He encouraged students to follow their interests. In his class, I read the entire collection of Calvin and Hobbes, Baby Blues, and Zits comics. Additionally, he had six apple computers. I remember a green screen and playing games like pipe dream. I signed up for a computer club not knowing that it would be one of the most challenging clubs ever!
In the library, Mr. Rod taught us Logo programming. Known to us fourth graders as the computer game with the turtle. At the time, I enjoyed the time I spent with my friends figuring out how to move the turtle.
As we continue to move forward into a technology infused classrooms, it is critical that we teach computer science concepts. Our students come into our classrooms as consumers of technology. Most students understand the devices serve as game or communication platforms. Yet, teachers have a golden opportunity to teach students about the implications of computer science and programming. For instance, teachers can teach grammar or vocabulary through coding. Coding requires an understanding of syntax, mathematic reasoning and logical sequence to create movement in a digital image. Coding programs like Code.org or Code Monkey give teacher access to computer science curriculum. Coding programs help students conceptualize algorithm processing of computers. For example, in code monkey students must write a code for a monkey to grab a banana. There is an opportunity for trial and error. Students navigate through levels that increase in complexity. While Code.org provides students with blocks versus sentence writing. Students must place blocks in order to create code. Both programs provide user-friendly interfaces. These programs are ideal for students in primary grades. Once students have mastered the concept of coding, student can move to using code to create their own products. Students can create websites, moving gifs, animations, games and applications. If you are planning on introducing coding, check out the following videos and twitter feeds.
Michelle Villasenor is an elementary teacher that focuses on educational technology and student-centered learning to promote love for learning.