Coding

programming.jpg

A problem:

All kids should learn basic coding. It's useful, and it can shift how they experience computers — not as magic, but as boxes of fully-comprehendable logical gears.

But not all schools teach computer programming from an early age, when kids are most ready to absorb new ways of thinking about the world. What a waste!

Our basic plan:

Students, from kindergarten/first grade on, learn coding. They do so largely independent of the teacher, using apps and websites that teach coding.

The goal:

Kids learn to write code, and enjoy writing code. After a few years, they can actually write programs to help them do things. All of this strengthens their analytical thinking.

If you walk into our classrooms, you might see:

Kids on computers (individually, or in pairs), learning to code. They'll be doing this almost entirely independently. Along with parents and teachers, the students will even be helping set and monitor their progress goals.

Some specific questions:

  • Is early grade school really the ideal time to learn to program?
  • Which coding language should grade schoolers start off with?
  • Should we plan to have kids transition to other codes as they get older?
  • Should we just have 1 coding language at a time (for each age), or is there a reason to have different students learn different coding languages?
  • What really good curriculum exists to teach coding that doesn't rely on a human instructor?
  • Any books you'd recommend about this?
  • Is learning to program best done in regular allotments (15 or 30 minutes, daily), or in occasional splurges (1.5 hours, weekly)?
  • How could learning to write code be connected with anything else in our curriculum?
  • Should coding be done individually, or in pairs?
  • I've been using "coding" and "computer programming" and "learning computer languages" interchangeably — do they mean different things?
  • Is it realistic that students can learn to do this without an in-person teacher?

Brandon Hendrickson

Seattle, WA