Why coding? Because it’s empowering, it’s future-proofing our young people, it’s providing them with opportunities, it’s helping them understand the increasingly technology-focussed world around them, it’s teaching them valuable problem solving skills. And of course, it’s a lot of fun!
You’re never too young to start coding! OK, that might be a little over enthusiastic, but certainly by the time children start primary school they are more than capable of starting with some basics. I was doing what we’d call “visual programming” at home for fun well before I started school (hurrah for the good old Apple Mac and Hypercard!) and your students can too! They can start to learn about simple algorithms, sequencing and logic just for starters.
In my opinion, learning to code helps to teach some essential problem solving and critical thinking skills. Through coding, students learn to:
- Be analytical
- Be creative
- Tackle problems in a deliberate, systematic way
- Take complex ideas and break them into simpler, more manageable parts
- Persevere in the face of frustration
- Experiment, explore, invent!
Traditionally, computing in schools is focussed on learning how to use computers as tools, for example using applications such as Microsoft Word or PowerPoint. This is Information Communication Technology (ICT). People are now realising that in addition to ICT, all of our students should be learning Computer Science (CS). They should be learning to write code, understand algorithms, and develop their own applications. ICT and Computer Science complement each other – by learning computer science, students also become more efficient and effective at using applications.
Computer Science is one of those beautiful things where there are loads of readily accessible resources and fun learning activities you can do, all you need is a computer and an internet connection. Even if you don’t have these things (or don’t have them available at every lesson), there are quite a few low-tech activities that you can do with your students to help them learn the skills they need. My goal with Stuck on STEM is to help you do all this for your students.
You might find this video an interesting watch too!