Coding enables computer systems to fulfill tasks and reach objectives with ease. Programmers have been able to construct websites, design computer systems, develop mobile apps, and craft video games.
Learning computer programming is becoming increasingly important in preparing for 21st-century jobs. By integrating coding activities into lesson plans, students can hone their problem solving skills and become competitively positioned for high-paying job opportunities that span numerous industries.
Coding may appear to be a daunting concept better suited for older students, but elementary students can certainly reap the rewards of instruction in this area. Surveys have revealed that a substantial amount of professional developers learned programming before they even celebrated their 10th birthday, highlighting the power and importance of early exposure.
Exposing students to coding and digital literacy early on can help encourage fluency in the same way as learning a second language. To equip them with the skills and knowledge necessary to get started, there are certain key elements that should be addressed beforehand:
Scaffolding lessons can be a great way for students to gain basic computer skills before embarking onto more complex coding concepts. With the wide range of online coding activities available, it’s made easier for students to learn concepts and progress at their own comfortable pace. Daily dedicated class time to coding allows students to gradually build and hone these newfound programming abilities!
With a plethora of apps and websites at their disposal, teachers have multiple options for bringing coding into their classroom, be it online or in-person. Introducing students to real-world technologies through programming languages and coding activities gives them the opportunity to gain valuable insight and apply their learnings in practical contexts. This enables them to take full advantage of their new knowledge and go beyond what is taught within the classroom.
Scratch, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), provides teacher resources, lesson plans, activities and strategies to teach programming. Students can access tutorials on coding and printed or downloadable coding cards to gain a detailed understanding of the concepts needed for projects.
Lightbot is an engaging programming puzzle game. Students experience fun ways to learn commands, procedures, loops, and conditionals. Players can track their progress and collaborate with others as they advance through various levels.
Students may find coding concepts challenging to comprehend at first, which can lead to frustration. To help them tackle difficult areas, introducing a self-paced learning environment is beneficial.
Online modules are usually self-paced and evolve in complexity based on a student’s progress. Conducting in-class or virtual demonstrations can provide students with step-by-step instructions to mimic when completing coding activities.
Creating an atmosphere of collaboration can help alleviate student frustration by allowing them to engage with each other and benefit from their collective knowledge. Group work allows students to learn important social skills, ask questions, and discover new possibilities for influencing the topic. This encourages meaningful conversation and increases engagement. By establishing a collaborative environment, students are exposed to different methods of thinking and problem-solving, which can broaden their understanding and enhance the learning experience.
Coding can be intimidating; with such an assortment of languages and frameworks, it can be challenging to know where to start. When leading coding lessons in the classroom, focusing on simpler programming languages equips students with a strong base to expand their skills. To assist them in this endeavor, some of the most common programming languages for beginners are detailed below:
Although coding is a complex skill, students at any grade level can learn it. Matching the skill levels of students, providing clear instructions, ensuring they understand the basics can help your class advance in coding and prepare for professional careers. To make learning coding interesting in your classroom, mix up the lessons with exciting activities, provide hands-on projects and encourage early successes. This will help them stay motivated and more eager to learn more complex concepts.
Categorized as: Tips for Teachers and Classroom Resources
Tagged as: Career and Technical Education, Early Childhood and Elementary (Grades: PreK-5), Educational Technology, Educational Technology Leadership, Engaging Activities, High School (Grades: 9-12), History of Technology, Math and Science, Mid-Career Teacher, New Teacher, Science, STEAM, STEM, Veteran Teacher