To Code or Not to Code, That is the Question

“Code is the next universal language. In the seventies, it was punk music that drove the whole generation.  In the eighties, it was probably money. But for my generation of people, software is the interface to our imagination and our world. And that means that we need a radically, radically more diverse set of peopleto build those products, to not see computers as mechanical and lonely and boring and magic, to see them as things that they can tinker and turn around and twist, and so forth.”
~Linda Liukas

Two of the #spadyboys sharing their coding knowledge with Westside teachers during Professional Learning Day, January 18 #WestsidePL

I have written about my passion for coding/teaching kids to code before, but I thought I would jot down and reflect on some recent experiences related to coding…

  • A parent emailed me awhile back asking if I had heard of Bitsbox.  It rang a bell and I remembered signing up for a free teacher’s kit.  I’m a little embarrassed to say that when the kit arrived, I set it aside because I wasn’t sure what I supposed to do with the little booklets.  Anyway, the parent’s email prompted me to dig out the booklets and show them to some students.  WOW!  Talk about instant excitement and engagement!  Words cannot express the joy and excitement on these kids’  faces when they created something with code!  In addition, students were helping each other troubleshoot and problem solve when something didn’t work.  I can’t tell you how many times I heard a student say, “You forgot an apostrophe!” or “That needs to be capitalized!”  Who knew…punctuation and capitalization matter not only when writing, but in coding too!  My first subscription to Bitsbox arrived last week…20 beautifully illustrated pages filled with coding projects.  I can’t wait to share them this Saturday at Coder Dojo!

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“If you can create the technology you want, you can create the future you want, too.” ~Ayah Bdeir
“Build in extra learning time for failure, trial-and-error, and space to really tinker and, therefore, learn. Sometimes you have to go slow to go fast. Give learners time to explore the new tool, strategy, or knowledge.” ~Jasmine Escalante

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  • Like most teachers, I really enjoy learning!  I love putting myself in the student role and experiencing the struggle that often accompanies learning.  Believe me…that struggle happened this past Saturday when I attended #NodeSchool_Omaha at @ObjectPartners (A confession, I signed up primarily because they were offering free lunch-Woo Hoo! @qdoba)  I immediately felt in-over-my-head surrounded by people who knew a lot more about coding than I did.  Luckily there were mentors there to help me every step of the way and I ended up earning my badge!

I could go on and on about my experiences with teaching kids to code.  So for me, To Code or Not to Code is not a question.  I’m interested in your thoughts though.  Below are some articles/blog posts about the topic.  Leave a comment and share your thinking and/or other resources to consider.

Learn to Code, Code to Learn:

The President Wants Every Student To Learn Computer Science.  How Would That Work?

Should we really teach all kids to code?

Best Jobs in America:,20.htm

5 Reasons Some Doctors are Learning to Code:

Future of Work: Why Teaching Everyone to Code is Delusional Promote Computer Science:

5 Unbeatable Reasons Your Kid Should Be Coding:

It took awhile, but schools are starting to boot-up computer coding classes:

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