Is Coding the Newest Literacy?

Reflections by Samantha O.

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CODE ~ The New Literacy

Code - The New Literacy

“In China, every student learns computer programming. In the U.S. less than 5%.”

This week's reflection has really got me thinking about the greatness of Web 2.0 technologies. I have enjoyed learning about them throughout the course and I feel that they will be very useful to motivate my students. In preparing each new literacy post, I have found myself to be more engaged and excited than I have been in other courses with a more traditional approach. However, I think we could take this one step further by considering how students would benefit even more if they actually learned how to develop technologies like those described as Web 2.0. It is one thing to learn about how to use these tools, but we really haven’t discussed how students can learn to develop them on their own.


I think the future will see students not just learning how to use these applications, but how to create and design their own programs for their own benefit as well as the benefit of others. I really believe that this is where the jobs and the money will be. How then, do we begin to allow students to learn how to develop these tools? The answer I believe is by learning how to CODE.

Is CODE the Most Important Language in the World?

Is Code the Most Important Language in the World? | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

Learning CODE is What Most Schools Don't Teach

I believe that the future will require that all students begin learning how to code. This process should begin as early as age 8. One teacher in every school should be hired to be the "coding" teacher. All classes, starting from Grade 3 should have one hour a week spent with the "coding" teacher. The "coding" teacher will be a person who has been hired specifically to do this task. They must be able to prove that they know all of the skills required to code. In order to ensure the best and most current information is being taught in the coding class, the coding teacher must be required to undergo constant upgrading to ensure that they know the latest information. The organization Code.org offers tutorials that can be followed by students online. According to their website, "98% of participating teachers recommend the program."


Additionally, a new Specialist High Skills Major should be offered at every high school that is focused on the ability to code. Again, the teacher in charge will be specially trained in the ability to code. This person should have the ability to stay ahead of students in terms of what they know. Additional training will be required to understand the new techniques that are being developed in the world of computer science. The Province of Ontario could be responsible for creating modules for students to complete with the teacher acting as both an expert and guide in this process. The curriculum would need to change to include these modules for learning how to code from Grade 3 and beyond. Code.org could be used to help facilitate this process.


Additional Qualification courses could be offered to include Coding Part 1, 2, and 3. Each course would need to be designed for teachers who already have a computer science degree. Only those with a university degree in computer technology should be permitted to take these AQ courses. This will hopefully ensure that students will have the best teachers skilled in how to code.

What Most Schools Don't Teach

“Only 20% of all U.S. developers are female.”

“Only 12% of all Computer Science Degrees in the U.S. are awarded to women.”

Girls Learning Code

CODING should be the 7th C!

Michael Fullan (2007) discusses the 6 Cs in Great to Excellent (p. 9):


  • Character education — honesty, self-regulation and responsibility, perseverance, empathy for contributing to the safety and benefit of others, self-confidence, personal health and well-being, career and life skills.
  • Citizenship global knowledge, sensitivity to and respect for other cultures, active involvement in addressing issues of human and environmental sustainability.
  • Communication — communicate effectively orally, in writing and with a variety of digital tools; listening skills.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving — think critically to design and manage projects, solve problems, make effective decisions using a variety of digital tools and resources.
  • Collaboration — work in teams, learn from and contribute to the learning of others, social networking skills, empathy in working with diverse others.
  • Creativity and imagination — economic and social entrepreneurialism, considering and pursuing novel ideas, and leadership for action.


I would argue that CODING would fit in nicely with the 6 Cs or should even be considered as the 7th C! 21st century learners will certainly benefit from learning how to CODE!


Reference:


Fullan, M. (2007). Great to excellent: Launching the next stage of Ontario's education agenda. Retrieved from http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/document/reports/FullanReport_EN_07.pdf

Discussion Questions

1. Why do you think most schools in Ontario are not teaching CODE?


2. Recently, the UK has introduced a new computing curriculum that will teach children as young as five years old programming skills. Do you think Ontario should do the same? See more information here:

http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/uploads/primary_national_curriculum_-_computing.pdf

http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/uploads/secondary_national_curriculum_-_computing.pdf


3. Describe your knowledge of the organization #Ladies/Girls Learning Code? Please share if you know someone who has experienced a workshop in your community.

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Thanks for taking the time to read my Smore!