Contributed by Tammy Robacker
Coding isn’t just for computer scientists. Today, coding builds key skills for students across all grades, and educators are realizing the sooner we introduce those concepts to young learners, the better. As with any new language, the earlier students are exposed to coding, the easier it will be to develop fluency, strengthen their digital literacy skills, and apply the skills to a broad range of career opportunities down the road.
There are many benefits to teaching students how to code. When we give students the opportunity to explore coding, here are some of the important skills they build:
Creativity: Thinks outside of typical scenarios and identifies multiple ways to solve a problem
Perseverance: Learns how to not get deterred in the face of difficulty or failure
Computational Thinking: Leverages critical thinking, problem decomposition, abstraction and algorithmic problem-solving skills
Logic: Understands concepts such as sequencing as well as cause and effect
Collaboration: Communicates ideas with others and collaborates to identify new or improved solutions to problems
Future Career: Develops foundational skills for future jobs in artificial intelligence, robotics and more
Confidence: Maintains a can-do attitude toward solving difficult problems and works to instill that in others
Once coding skills are mastered, students can apply them to build their own apps and games and to create real software by themselves. Coding encourages engagement, promotes interactivity, and helps develop the skills students need to land and succeed in the jobs of tomorrow. In a future that will rely heavily on robots, innovation, and technology, exploring coding with our students will help prepare them for tomorrow.
Article features FETC Speakers:
Paul Ownby is an experienced product manager skilled in computer programming and digital literacy curriculum design. He oversees Learning.com’s coding solutions for elementary and middle school. Paul graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering.
Amy Odom is a middle school technology teacher at Vidor Junior High School, currently in her 17th year of education. She has taught physical education, health, and coached a variety of sports, to include her latest endeavor, Robotics. Her current teaching responsibilities are 21st Century Skills, Intro to Robotics, Advanced Robotics, Digital Communications, Computer Programming with Python and Intro to Video Game Design.
Jana Cash is currently the Coordinator for Instructional Technology in Vidor ISD. A graduate of Sam Houston State University, Jana and husband Bob have two grown children, Robyn and Matt. In her 39th year of public education, she has coached, taught math, physical education, and technology applications before taking on the role of district webmaster and trainer.