Alas, the day came when I had to bite into a chunk of learning that certainly made me shiver at the word; coding. Yes, coding.
The amazing @mraspinall has been an advocate of students coding for quite sometime. Through viewing his Tweets and Blog, I finally decided it was time to take the plunge. What better way to jump into coding than through the #HourOfCode experience during Computer Science Week. It was just the kick that I needed to launch myself, and my students, into this world of computer literacy.
As I presented the idea to my students, most met the coding challenge with a positive vibe and a willingness to take a risk in trying something new. I had full intentions of connecting this current, and all future coding experiences with Deep Learning Pedagogy. However, before I could even ask students how it connected to the 6Cs of Deep Learning, a student quickly asked why we were going off track into this world of coding? I paused for a moment and answered in this way (more or less):
Coding is more than just knowing how to create a game, website, or an application. Coding promotes critical thinking, effective communication skills when explaining ‘what’ one is doing, and can be viewed as a creative outlet for some. In essence, it is another language or form of literacy that needs to be ‘decoded’ (har har, I know). By coding, you are developing critical thinking skills that can be applied into many other aspects of your life. The question should not be ‘why are we coding, but more so, why are we not coding?
As a class, we discussed how coding can help each and everyone of us in the learning process and the skill sets it provides. Throughout this conversation, and the many others we have had as a class where authentic learning is concerned, students are truly beginning to understand how the 6Cs of learning are represented in all that they do.
This quick intro into coding and its connection with the 6Cs leaves me excited to know where it may lead us on this educational journey. My students were so engaged in what they were doing and were communicating in such meaningful ways that one could not help but get caught up in their conversations. For some, upon learning that a ‘Coding Club’ would be introduced to our school this week, a world opened up to opportunity and a different sense of community.
Whether you code for an hour, once a week, or throughout your teaching year, I strongly suggest that you do. It opens up opportunities to our students to understand learning in ways that we may never thought possible. Most importantly, it engages them in the learning process through ways that they, the students, never thought they could.
Yours in learning,
They Enthusiastic Learner