A fellow colleague, Corrine Owen, shared about her learning experience with coding and the use of Scratch from the developer. The video encouraged me to not give up hope. He talked about how his 83 year old Mother even attempted to use it after he shared several Mothers Day cards with her. At present I am doing this all in one week, but given the opportunities to work with Scratch a little bit longer and allow my creativity to flow, I may even produce some amazing pieces of coding myself. I have a limited knowledge about what coding is and after watching and reading Corrine’s work, I was prompted to dig a little bit deeper about how this would benefit students in our classroom. The pending Australian Curriculum: Technologies (2013) states in the rationale “the ubiquity of digital technologies provides new ways of thinking, collaborating and communicating for people of all ages and abilities. A comprehensive education in Technologies provides opportunities for students to progress from creative and directed play through to the consolidation of knowledge, understanding and skills.” Furthermore it explicitly states in the aims of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies (2013) that students will “investigate, design, plan, manage, create, produce and evaluate technologies solutions.” The validity of coding and programs like Scratch is strongly supported by several of the achievement standards for various levels in the scope and sequence on the Australian Curriculum: Technologies (2013).
I started out with a negative attitude to coding and how to fit technologies into an already fully crammed curriculum. However seeing the following YouTube video inspired me. This is the path our students are going to need to take to increase their chances for employ-ability and it is our responsibility as educators to adopt these practices and introduce our students to coding programs similar to Scratch. Here’s the YouTube video I was talking about.
Why Our Kids Must Learn to Code.
Digging deeper I found this video that shows a group of people who work with kids outside of school, teaching them coding.
Code for Kids.
This group of people work to help kids to learn and then spread the word to their friends. I hit Google and searched for Coding for kids and came across a site called Coder Dojo. This is a global organisation and I even found a group that met about 5km from my home. There are opportunites for members of the community to get involved by attending a program, mentoring at a dojo or starting your own program. School across the US and the UK are developing programs in and out of the classroom to encourage students to learn about coding. Coding for Kids: Schoolchildren Learn Computer Programming is an article written by Jessica Salter (2012) in The Telegraph. Salter (2013) discusses Code Club established by web designer Claire Sutcliff and web programmer Linda Sandvik at De Beauvoir Primary School in east London. Likened to Coder Dojo, many schools are offering opportunities for children to get a head start on learning coding. Hour of Code’ to teach kids as young as 5 to program. So, armed with all this information I start to ask myself how can I develop a deeper knowledge of coding? How will this help me as a teacher? What are Australian schools doing to incorporate and integrate coding opportunities for our students? Does Queensland Education block the use of such sites to be used on Queensland classroom computers? What voice do I have to make this happen and do I have enough knowledge of coding to instigate programs like Coder Dojo into the school where I work? My journey into understanding coding and using programs such as Scratch has just begun. I am sure that I have only just skimmed the surface, but it is something that I will be thinking of as I progress through this course. Cheers, Teresa. REFERENCES:
Australian Curriculum Assessment And Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2013, February). Draft Australian Curriculum: Technologies. Retrieved February 24, 2014, from http://consultation.australiancurriculum.edu.au/Static/docs/Technologies/Draft%20Australian%20Curriculum%20Technologies%20-%20February%202013.pdf
Canadians Connected. (unknown). Code For Kids. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnvpqNo5qwA
CNet News. (2013, December 5). Hour of Code to teach kids as young as 5 to program. . CNet News. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDejnYSeEEk
CoderDojo. (unknown). CoderDojo. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://coderdojo.com/#zoom=3&lat=48.9225&lon=-35.15625&layers=00B0T
Heninger, M. (2013, March 1). Why Our Kids Must Learn to Code. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STRPsW6IY8k
Salter, J. (2013, November 23). Coding for kids: school children learn computer programming. Retrieved February 25, 2014, from The Telegraph: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnvpqNo5qwA