Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek) is an annual initiative that aims to inspire K-12 students to take interest in computer science. During this annual program, schools around the world host their own Hour of Code™. Organized by Code.org, Hour of Code™ is a one-hour basic introduction designed to celebrate and expand participation in computer science. This year, CSEdWeek took place from December 5th to 11th, and two of edWeb.net’s professional learning communities (PLC) presented webinars that highlighted the importance of coding and computer science in education.
This year during the annual Computer Science Education Week, educators and students around the world participated in the Hour of Code, an event designed to demystify and engage educators and students in coding. What are some ways to get started with coding, for an Hour of Code or afterwards? Kelly Knight, STEAM Coordinator at Riverside Presbyterian Day School, Jacksonville, FL, presented ideas and tips in “Get Ready for Hour of Code.”
Two common computer science misconceptions are that it’s just about programming and that only teachers with computer science degrees should teach it. Carrie Willis, Technology Director for Valley Preparatory School and Strategic Outreach Manager for Wonder Workshop, and Caitlin Arakawa, Kindergarten Teacher at Valley Preparatory School, dispel these misconceptions, during a recent edWebinar. They highlighted that soft skills critical to student success in future fields of study such as logic, problem-solving and creativity are integral components of computer science curriculums.
edWeb.net and Wonder Workshop are hosting a professional learning community (PLC) on Coding & Robotics K-8 that will bring together thought leaders, technical experts, leading-edge educators, and industry leaders to provide teachers new information, resources, ideas and a place for discussion on how to teach coding and robotics, and how to integrate computer science and coding theory into core subjects, especially for students in grades K-8.
In this webinar, presented by the Teaching Kids to Code community on edWeb.net, Steven Yee, COO at EDUonGo, Inc. provided suggestions on how to facilitate coding projects and assist your students as they learn how to build software. Steven gave advice on how to help students look for solutions online while they collaborate with their peers. Find out how to keep your students engaged with code. Even if you do not have coding knowledge, you can still provide support to your students!
Coding and robotics programs in classrooms reflect how integral technology is in our lives. Educators like Angie Kalthoff, Technology Integrationist in St. Cloud, MN, and Ann Bartel, Instructional Technology Specialist in Chilton, WI, teach K-8 students about technology through coding and computer science programs that incorporate the 4 Cs of learning: collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, and communication. In a recent edWebinar, Kalthoff and Bartel explain that they want to coach students and not just tell them what button to push or the correct sequences to move a robot across a mat. By being challenged to take ownership of their learning through design thinking, students grow to understand that it is okay not to get the right answer the first time and that failing is part of the learning process.
Students exposed to coding and programming at an early age are well equipped to take on higher-level computer science courses in high school and have essential skills for future opportunities in the technology world. When Rob van Nood was hired as the educational technology specialist for Catlin Gabel School in Oregon, coding and computer science courses were only offered in grades 9-12 and not to students in the younger grades. The lack of coding curricula at the younger levels has left a significant teaching gap in 21st century skills such as problem solving, designing, and computation thinking.
How and where our students learn has radically changed over the last ten months. Students are in a multitude of educational environments that have challenged the entire school community. As educators, we cannot predict what the future holds, but we understand the importance of developing core skills such as collaboration, effective communication, and problem solving in our students today.
edWeb.net has launched a free professional learning community (PLC), Teaching Kids to Code, to help teachers integrate computer science and coding into classroom lessons.
While coding is an essential 21st century language, coding alone won’t be enough to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s careers. What students are able to DO with coding is what matters. Jon Samuelson, Innovation Strategist at Beaverton School District in Beaverton, OR, presented tips and tricks for student involvement in the recent edWebinar, “Coding + STEAM: Getting Students Future Ready.”