Week 12 - Coding

Coding should be taught in schools like other literacies not only for its benefits of keeping up with modern technology, but for all the skills students will learn through the process of coding.  To start out this week, I began by engaging with the Python coding introduction.  What I quickly realized is that the process of coding in itself is a great skill for our students to learn.  On some of the steps it took me many tries through editing and reflecting to get the code right, which is a skill I try to teach my students in my science classes already.  Engaging with the Python made me realize that coding isn't just a wizardry but a “craft that one can learn and hone” by developing “logic and problem-solving skills to think computationally” (Burke, O’Byrne & Kafai). 

 

When going through the Python into and reading the articles, I really was stuck on wondering how I would be able to differentiate the actual teaching of coding.  Most students at my school are reading below grade level and struggle with comprehension, which can be challenging especially when introducing language in a new way in relation to coding.

 

Computer programming is currently no more than a “material intelligence” because students are not yet able to read and write code (Vee).  Vee made an important distinction for my understanding of coding as a literacy and made me think about with my own students many are just approaching a place where they are able to interact with and navigate the many facets of technology that is ran by code, thus barely approaching really having the material intelligence.  At first I thought that this meant students needed to have the material intelligence before they actually begin coding.

 

After reflecting and reading the case study by Ardito et al, I realized that coding can be taught as the material intelligence is also being gained.  In the school I previously taught at, I was somehow chosen to be the advisor for the LEGO robotics club.  I had no idea what I was doing, but I had a group of excited 8th graders who were ready to learn.  Through many meetings of trial and error, we all learned together and eventually our Mindstorm was fully created and programmed.  The beauty of it was that the process of coding, the reflecting and revising and editing, ended up with my students successfully coding without any proper teaching.  I am hopeful that I can bring the same experience into my current school.

    • Gerald Ardito
      Gerald Ardito

      Alex,

      Thanks for your response.

      I think you have something here:

      When going through the Python into and reading the articles, I really was stuck on wondering how I would be able to differentiate the actual teaching of coding.  Most students at my school are reading below grade level and struggle with comprehension, which can be challenging especially when introducing language in a new way in relation to coding.

      In my experience, coding accesses different skills than other activities, and so can be really useful for students with other challenges.

      No questions for me?

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