Week 6 Reflection

I had a fairly nice time this week trying to be a bit contrary and take on the predictable perspective that Coding should be taught in schools.  I had a few enjoyable exchanges with students in the class on our differing viewpoints.  Even a computer programmer who was invited to comment on our blogs offered some great perspectives from someone in the industry.  Of course, I do think we should offer coding in schools and I DO see the value of coding.  However, the more we discussed the issue the less convinced I am that coding will find a regular home in our schools.

First of all, to offer coding in schools means that you need people qualified to teach coding.  I don’t see our schools being able to provide this at any advanced level considering the industry-wide shortage of coders.  Second, schools are so hampered by standardized tests that administrators are under considerable pressure to perform.  While the benefits to coding are apparent to me, and many other researchers (Pea, “On The Cognitive Effects Of Learning Computer Programming”), it will take a bold gamble that time spent coding and not working on other subject areas will improve test scores.  If you liberate schools from high-stakes tests and the pressure that ensues, I think you would find a huge improvement by using coding, maker spaces, etc. Finally, I think the time spent coding is valuable but I feel it is too specific of a skill to focus on.  I’m more interested in broad technology-based integrations that focus on creativity, critical thinking skills and collaboration.  This last point was debated thoroughly by my peers.  I’m not sure I convinced anybody to my point of view.  I understand coding is at the foundation of technology and that creativity and critical thinking skills are utilized through coding.  I just think that every public school student doesn’t need to learn to code.

I would be excited to see coding offered in every high school as an elective. I would be excited about funding after-school coding clubs in elementary schools as well.   I definitely agree that coding should be a part of any school’s computer science program.  I was excited about the discussion involving universities substituting coding for foreign language credit. This allows schools to provide a very necessary skill for students who are driven to learn in.  In the end, this was a very good week of learning for me.  I have learned about the educational applications of coding and am excited to see more coding emerge in schools throughout the United States.

Pea, R., & Kurland, D. (1984). ON THE COGNITIVE EFFECTS OF LEARNING COMPUTER PROGRAMMING. Retrieved June 27, 2015, from http://www.tcnj.edu/~ijims/previous/Readings/Week1/Cog_Effects_Prog.pdf


3 thoughts on “Week 6 Reflection

  1. I was having a hard time believing that was your opinion during the Twitterfeed, until I realized you were arguing for arguments’ sake. Thanks for increasing the interest level!
    I did not have the opportunity to read your blog until Monday, so I am posting my most convincing argument for coding in school as a response to your blog.
    The most compelling argument for computer coding in schools is that coding is an activity that demands critical thinking. A person who works with coding has to repeatedly consider, “If I do this, then this will happen.” Conversely they must reflect, “If I want this to occur, what must I do?” There are very few activities in school where the result of an action is so directly obvious, and most of them (arts, crafts, and industrial sciences, chemistry, physics) require the use of expensive materials that must be replaced any time there is an error or the product does not turn out as expected. A board cut too short cannot be made longer again, but a coded activity can be revised over and over again until the desired result is achieved.
    Not all students enjoy and are successful at art, and not all students will enjoy and be successful at coding. Is it as essential to lifelong success like learning to read? No, but for many students the opportunities found at school are the only opportunities they will get. We do not expect our students to become Rembrandts and Hoppers when we do art activities in school, so we should not expect our students to become Steve Jobs or John Connor. But if your students have access to computers, coding exercises would be as valuable an experience as hearing a good-quality folktale.


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