Last week I gave a presentation called, “Code Dread,” at a tech conference. I’m not sure who had more dread at the time – the attendees who hadn’t tried coding before, or me, the teacher who can only speak publicly in front of people 10 and younger.
My target audience was people who are interested in using coding in the classroom but have some reservations like:
- I don’t know how to do this.
- I don’t have time to learn how to do this.
- I can’t fit this into my curriculum.
Here are my recommended solutions:
- Pretend you’re pretending you don’t know how to do this because that’s what’s best for your students; it will make them better problem solvers. This has the added benefit of being true. (Not the pretending part – the better problem solver part.) If you don’t know how to do it, you won’t feel tempted to rescue them too quickly.
- Learn along with your students. You don’t have to spend time during the weekend learning it. Just put it in your lesson plans and jump in. It will be messy and chaotic, but learning will happen. You’re modeling a growth mindset, and showing students that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them.
- Once students know the basics, there are all kinds of ways coding can be used as part of your everyday curriculum. For example, Sphero provides lessons that connect to math. With Scratch Jr. you can teach Kinders how to program while they learn their sight words. And I taught my 1st graders geography with Dash and Dot.
Here is the link to my presentation – though it may not make a whole lot of sense without my narration.
Hour of Code will be here soon (12-7 thru 12-13). The Code.org site provides extremely user-friendly resources and tutorials. They just announced their newest tutorial yesterday – Star Wars! This is a great way to dip your toes into coding and find out that it really isn’t that intimidating. Here is a simplified scope and sequence I offered to our faculty last year (with a few updates for 2015).
But don’t stop there! Your students will love being able to code on a regular basis – especially when they are able to create games or art with their programming. You can find many resources in my Code Dread presentation. I also have a “Programming for Kids” Pinterest board.
So, jump on in. Who cares if you don’t know what you’re doing?
I certainly don’t. Know what I’m doing, I mean 🙂
Take a risk, and get rid of your