Monday, July 27, 2015

Getting Kids Coding – Even Elementary Age Kids

I am not a coder, so I feel a little intimidated teaching coding, but here is what I can do as an elementary teacher: I can introduce kids to things they don’t yet know they love. I love that statement!

I attended a motivating session at ISTE called “Programming at All Ages” taught by Kristopher Velez (goes by Linus). I could tell by his presentation that he loves coding and he loves teaching coding to students at the American School of Bombay.

Here are some misconceptions of programming he is working to change:

Misconception #1 - Programming is just for people who want to get into computer science. Truth: Anyone can learn the basics of programming, which will only heighten their value as an employee.

Misconception #2 – I am a girl and programming is for guys. 
Truth: Until typical stereotypes set in, girls show as much interest and aptitude for programming as boys do. In 1945, girls were thought to be better at programming and boys at algorithms. The woman shown below, Ada Lovelace, worked on early computers and programming in the 1800s.

Misconception #3 – Programming is mostly math. 
Truth: Programming is mostly problem solving.

As an elementary age teacher, I know enough to get kids started and interested in coding. My first experience in coding was encouraging and helping teachers participate in “Hour of Code” this past December, and it was such a positive experience for me, teachers, and students that it has changed my view of coding.

Here are just a few coding resources available to give kids of all ages an engaging and fun experience with coding:

Kindergarten – 5th grade
Scratch Jr (free app)
Lightbot (free and paid apps)

I hope I have motivated you to get your students started in coding. There are resources available to help you, and very little preparation needed. If you need help or have questions, contact your Ed Tech. They would LOVE to help.

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