Last year my fifth grade class participated in the Hour of Code. Kids loved it. This year, I encouraged all classes at both of my buildings to try it out. I’m fortunate to be in a district that also promoted participation.
My reason for classes trying the Hour of Code this week was because from coding, kids learn:
- Digital literacy
- Problem-solving skills
- How to create websites, apps, computer programs, calculators, etc.
- Career skills*
*Over the next 10 years it is estimated there will be 1.4 million jobs in computer sciences and only 400,000 graduates qualified to do them. (http://code.org/)
Coding also stimulates design & creativity and strengthens math skills.
At Alexander Doniphan, many classes participated: An Essential Skills Classroom, gifted classes, first/fourth grade buddy classes, etc.
I still believe that students were learning digital literacy, problem-solving skills, and career skills, but this year I noticed something else. In addition to a very high level of student engagement and learning, students were making authentic and meaningful connections. Student to student, student to one-on-one para, and student to teacher connections were being made by watching each other, working together, and helping one another.
I still believe in the power of students learning computer science for the academic benefits, but I’ve walked away from this experience with a more meaningful message: Nothing a teacher does is as powerful as making a connection with a kid.