If you had asked me a few months ago about my thoughts on coding, you would have been met with a blank stare. I had never even heard of the word before, let alone seen the practice used in schools! However, when I started my internship at Davidson School, I was introduced to the wonderful world of coding. Many of the teachers at the school were part of a SWISI project that aimed to teach students how to code. Grades 1-12 were part of the project, and each grade was given a variety of opportunities to try their hand at coding through an assortment of activities. My grade one class, for example, was given a few copies of a board game called Robot Turtles. By playing the game, students were able to learn about direction and problem analysis. Feel free to check out my classmate and fellow Davidson intern Rheanne’s post to find out more about the project and her co-operating teacher’s role in it. I’ll admit that even after having been at Davidson for a while I still didn’t really understand what coding was or what the point of teaching it in schools is. It was during a PD day that I really got to see the benefits of learning coding firsthand. During the PD day, staff were given the opportunity to try out Spheros, Hour of Code, Scratch, and other coding related activities. Prior to this PD day, I thought that coding could only be done on a computer by writing script. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there is more than one way to teach coding! The activities were engaging, hands on, and pretty fun, too.
While I will admit that the PD changed my thoughts on teaching coding, it is definitely not something that I actually enjoy doing. I have completed the Hour of Code twice now, and both times I found myself getting really frustrated and confused. As I think about it more though, I am starting to wonder if the reason that I do not actually like coding is because I was not introduced to it until now. If I had practiced it throughout my educational career, would I have a more positive attitude towards it and be more successful at it? As much as I do not personally enjoy coding, I think that it is so beneficial in the classroom. In my opinion, even if students never want to use coding outside of school, it is still something that they should learn how to do. This article explores the benefits of teaching students to code, some of which include heightened problem solving and logic skills. Additionally, learning to code provides students with a larger skill set and more opportunity for employment. I wanted to learn about what the argument against coding in the classroom is, and along the way found this article. I think that the author has a valid opinion, and also believe that it is important to consider whether this is just another fad in the education world, or if there is real merit to teaching the skill. However, I think that the author only believes that educators teach coding so that students can get jobs that use coding. In my opinion, the analytical skills learned from coding alone is enough reason to teach it in the classroom.