edWeb.net launches a professional learning community on “Teaching Kids to Code”

thumbedWeb.net, a professional learning and social network has launched a free professional learning community (PLC), Teaching Kids to Code, to help teachers integrate computer science and coding into classroom lessons.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the projected increases in STEM jobs from 2010-20 will be 33 percent, which is well above the projected growth of 14 percent for all other occupations. Yet steadily, the United States is falling behind other nations in educating our students in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). Coding literacy is a large part of STEM education and builds skills not only in the science of computing, critical thinking and problem solving but challenges students to think creatively and to communicate ideas; skills that are essential to succeed in the 21st century workforce.

There has been a recent surge in organizations developing tools to assist students in learning to code such as codeacademy.com, code.org and the MIT Media Lab. For teachers, teaching coding in the classroom is a new and exciting means to engage students in a creative instrument that combines computational thinking with real world application, but many of our educators lack the expertise and knowledge to teach these skills.

edWeb.net created a PLC to assist teachers in bringing these important lessons into the classroom. The Teaching Kids to Code PLC hosts webinars and online discussions to help educators connect and collaborate on the broader topic of teaching kids to code. The webinars will be hosted by experts, leading edge educators and industry leaders who will assist teachers in implementing computer science tools, curriculum and programs that benefit students, teachers and schools.

“According to the non-profit Code.org, only 1 in 10 U.S. schools teach children to code yet it is a growing realization that learning these skills are very important to our children’s future,” Lisa Schmucki, edWeb.net founder and CEO commented. “Teaching Kids to Code is not about creating the next generation of game creators but preparing students for 21st century careers and we are thrilled to offer teachers the opportunity to learn from experts and join in this very important discussion.”

In the inaugural webinar, Google’s Kate Berrio and Mary Jo Madda of EdSurge expressed the importance of teaching coding and introduced CS First — a program designed by a team of educators and computer scientists to get students, particularly those in underrepresented groups, interested in coding through after-school and summer programs. View the webinar here.

Teachers are invited to register for the next professional development webinar by Kiki Prottsam, the Executive Director of Thinkersmith.com, “Doing Your Part with Hour of Code,” which will be broadcast live on Nov. 13 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Register here.

Educators can join the free Teaching Kids to Code community on edWeb.net to stay informed about upcoming webinars, join in discussions with peers and industry experts, and gain access to valuable resources.