Coding trends in schools today

Discussion in 'General Education' started by alabama, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. alabama

    alabama Rookie

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    Jan 2, 2017

    I am curious about the trends with regards to coding in schools. I have read extensively about how coding appears to be the next big thing. Many articles discuss how kids really love coding and are learning to code in middle school. I am surprised by this, as it was not something that students enjoyed when I was in school. But that was a while ago.

    I am wondering if there are any teachers here that can explain the trends in coding in public schools to me? Some questions that I have:

    1) Are students really learning to code, or are they just spending time with computers?

    2) Do very many students enjoy the actual coding part?

    3) How important do you feel that coding is in middle school?
     
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  3. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jan 2, 2017

    1: We have coding clubs, but no actual coding classes.
    2: I don't know about "many" but some kids really get into it. 35 years ago I would spend my lunch hour coding for fun. My new school didn't have a class to take so I would build elaborate scripts at school and plug them in at home.
    3: I don't think coding is important at all in middle school. I think it would be great to have a class available to all secondary students, but it would be no more important than any other elective.

    I offer a coding component on my choice boards. I've had three children try it, but none hit all the parameters successfully.
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Jan 2, 2017

    1) Are students really learning to code, or are they just spending time with computers?
    Depends on the school and the teacher. To some un-tech-savvy admin, any time spent on a computer is "coding" because everything digital-wise just seems like magic to them. "You're going to install a cloud to code apps and hashtags? Wow!" (Not exactly a phrase I've heard, but I've heard similar from from teachers/admin)

    2) Do very many students enjoy the actual coding part?
    In my experience, no. There are a few which really enjoy it, but they're probably the types that have already discovered coding on their own and would have done well without the coding class. When you make it a classroom assignment, very few activities retain their "fun-ness". Coding is very tedious to be honest, and once most kids get over the excitement about hearing they'll be "coding video games!!!" they realize how tedious coding can actually be. Even though they're creating something cool, coding still requires attention to detail, logical thinking, prior planning, and knowledge of syntax (things which most kids don't associate with "fun"). Most of the coding programs out there to teach them coding also rely on rote practice, and reading instructions (getting kids to read anything is like pulling teeth).

    3) How important do you feel that coding is in middle school?
    I feel like it is useful as an elective in middle school. Some kids who have never imagined that they could ever code something before learned that they could actually do it and it was no big deal. Some of them continue on that path in high school, and others just say they've done it so they can try something else instead. In either case, I definitely don't think it would hurt to do it in middle school, and middle schoolers are definitely capable of full on text-based programming (none of that block stuff please) using python or HTML. I've done it with MS students in my computer/electrical/mechanical engineering class and I felt they got something out of it. Doing it in MS carries the benefit that students aren't yet completely jaded about what they can or want to do. I've noticed in HS that very few want to try something new if they think it will be hard. There's less of that attitude at MS, and you can still inspire them to follow different career paths other than working at McDonalds.
     

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