I must say I wondered for a bit what all the hype was regarding “coding,” especially in the lower school classroom. However, as someone who relies on my relationships within my PLN (Personal Learning Network, which includes educational leaders around the world) to stay up to date and communicate about educational realities, the talk about coding was everywhere! I read, as did Headmaster David Colón, a number of articles that stressed its importance. This is what grabbed my attention and pushed me to look beyond my daily blog and Twitter browsing and to make a case for exploring coding in the Lower School:
“…it’s worth pointing out that this push towards helping our students learn the ideas of coding is not simply getting them to write computer programs. It’s about helping them to think clearly; identify and analyse problems; come up with creative, innovative solutions; and ultimately, help make the world a better place. The thing about coding is that it’s far more about learning to think clearly and creatively than it is about doing nerdy computer stuff. Put simply, good coders are good thinkers.”
I strongly encourage you to read the entire article by this Australian Educator.
I know how much we want our Wakefield students to be good thinkers and problem solvers, as well as articulate communicators — and coding can help them get there! So I talked with Simon Sjogren, who made the coding program “Scratch Jr.” available on our new iPads, and the fun began! And, I must admit, the second graders beat me to the chase. I was up to par at getting my cat to talk and cross the street, but I just couldn’t get the cat to jump out of the road. I wandered around the second grade classroom, and luckily some enthusiastic student “coders” helped me!
— Dr. Margo Isabel, Head of Lower School
On December 8th, 2014, the Hour of Code began in classrooms at all grade levels across the world. This is an annual event where schools participate and help their students learn coding in a whole new way. During the same time, Wakefield School’s first, second, and third graders also began their one hour of coding in Mr. Sjogren’s technology classes using iPads and the application “Scratch Jr.”
For many students, this was their first experience with coding. The ability to learn coding has been around for many years, although not until recently was coding actually this much fun! Using the new Lower School iPads, the students were able to write lines of code and create programs that moved objects from one side of the screen to another in less than an hour’s time. The students were left excited about the work they had done and the new skill they had just learned.
The ability to code is a skill that has become more widely used in “jobs of the future” and with the ever-changing landscape of technology, the need for such a skill exists – and the students at Wakefield now have the chance to broaden their technical skills into become possible programmers of the future!
–Simon Sjogren, Director of Technology Integration