Essential Question: Does Every School Need a BYOD Policy? #uaemergtech

byod-devicesIts 11:30 am on a typical spring Wednesday in Mr. Boerger’s senior level Government classroom.  The students shuffle towards the desks with varying urgency.  One group of boys from the soccer team stands in front of class boisterously recalling last night’s game.  When I interrupt their dissection of the game, they immediately try to bait me into the conversation to get class off-track.  I say, “we will talk about that later, your Bell Work is on the board – get going”!  I look over at Josh who was having an animated conversation with Anna and implore them to find their assigned seats and get their Bell Work started.  In the back right corner of the classroom, I find a quiet group of wonderful students, in their desks and intently focused on completing their Bell Work assignment.  Upon further inspection, I realized that it wasn’t my wonderfully worded Bell Work topic that held their attention, but small miniature computers some people refer to as phones.  “Lucy!” I exclaim, “I’m sure glad you got your Bell Work done, please share your answer with the class”!  Lucy, gives me a half smile-half eye roll as she knows she was busted committing a fairly high offense – cell phone use in school.  The students all around the back corner of the classroom discretely slide their phones away, except Brooke who still had her phone out.  “Brooke! What is the answer to the Bell Work… How many District Courts exist in the US, and where is the closest one to us”?  Brooke smiled and looked up from her phone and said, “There are 94 federal courts in the United States… and there is a District Court in Anchorage.”  Other students who were flipping through their textbooks for the answer immediately stopped and wrote the answer in their Bell Work.  “Good,” I said, “make sure you also write that answer down in your Bell Work.”

Grace Christian School is a fairly traditional school, although not really that different than many public schools that I have worked at.  Most of the schools I have been with struggled to find meaningful cell phone and or BYOD policies that fit the times.  Grace Christian, like almost every school out there is a BYOD school whether there is an official policy to deal with it or not.  It used to be that cell phones could just make phone calls, thus were easy to regulate.  Then they could make phone calls and send text messages.  I still remember students cheating in my class a decade ago by texting each other answers.  I didn’t notice… I was oblivious.  Now practically every student has a smartphone with Internet capability and there are some realities that schools need to consider as they deal with cell phones and devices in schools.  I was at one school where they let students have laptops and tablets but not phones.  With messenger/Skype and so many applications out there… what is the difference between a cell phone and a laptop?  Laptops of course can allow students to create more conveniently… but if a student is intent on being off task… they can get off task with either device.

Now I never would expect it to be appropriate for students to field phone calls while in the classroom, yet we do need to look at policies that will allow for students to utilize their device as an educational tool.  In the Grace Christian School Technology Plan, there is a hope of moving towards a BYOD environment and a 1 to 1 device plan, should the budget allow.  In fact, there are devices that 90-95% of my students already have in possession every day, a cell phone.  While a smartphone can’t do everything a laptop can do, in the scenario above, Brooke was able to find the answer quicker and more efficiently than her page-flipping friends.  As a teacher, teaching in a classroom where students are connected to the Internet opens up the depth and breadth of research topics and discussions. It also easily allows me to turn paper and pencil assignments into digital posts, blogs where students can contribute to each other’s learning. “BYOD can increase student and teacher collaboration, extend learning beyond the traditional classroom walls and cut costs for many school districts” (Martini, 2013). BYOD allows for blended learning and transfer traditional learning into Blackboard or Moodle formats that will broaden learning outside of classroom walls.  The Bell Work assignment discussed above can now be housed in a closed class website where others can discuss/collaborate and respond to each other’s posts.

Every school should have a BYOD Policy in place and students should be very familiar with it.  If a school does not yet have a BYOD policy, one of the first steps a school should take is to get community engagement.  There are some potential perils and pitfalls that come with BYOD in schools, and all stakeholders need to be a part of the conversation. There will be abuses, distractions and other unwanted side effects (i.e. stolen devices) that will need to be considered. “The biggest unanswered question surrounding the BYOD trend is the concern that laptops, tablets or smartphones are more of a distraction than a viable learning tool in the classroom” (Holeywell, 2013).  To a certain extent, they already are a distraction at many schools.  Teachers will learn to find ways to keep students more actively engaged with use of the devices.  Certainly students will have these devices with them at College, at their jobs… part of what we need to be doing is equipping students with responsible means of utilizing technology in their lives.

Second, there needs to be appropriate physical infrastructure.  “99% of school districts identify a need for additional bandwidth and connectivity to support the explosion of devices on the network.  Given most users carry more than one Internet connected device (i.e. smart phone and tablet), bandwidth consumption can easily quadruple overnight with a BYOD rollout” (Martini, 2013).  There also needs to be a system set into place to help students problem solve issues with their devices.  In addition to extra needed bandwidth, there will be a increase in issues with devices that the IT department may need to assist with.

Third, schools need to develop an Acceptable Use Policy.  Students also need to use the school’s network so that their browsing can be monitored/protected (Walsh, “Awesome Free Ed Tech Resources eBook!”).  There are many Acceptable Use Policies out there and any policy needs to have a programed student training highlighting appropriate and inappropriate device behavior.  Consequences for violating the Acceptable Use Policy also need to be clear.  This  policy is a great starting point:  http://ohlsd.org/portfolio/byod-developing-an-acceptable-use-policy/

Finally, schools need to partner with teachers to effectively train them in best practices to engage connected students and to provide dedicated oversight to the program and enforcement of the BYOD policies.  Teachers need to be part of the Digital Citizenship education program at any school that implements a BYOD policy.  It also needs to be reinforced that teachers are still in charge of their classroom and device usage still needs to occur within the granted parameters of the teacher in the classroom.

Screen Shot 2015-07-13 at 2.09.56 PMhttp://www.be.wednet.edu/cms/lib2/WA01001601/Centricity/domain/23/tech%20policy%20docs/educational%20tech%20supports/BYOD%20Teacher%20Management%20Tips.pdf

Every school needs a BYOD policy to protect itself as well as to take full advantage of student interests and assets.  Our world is rapidly changing and schools need to embrace that change.  Trying to cling to old practices for tradition’s sake is denying students the full opportunities that are out there and fail to prepare them for their future.  BYOD does NOT make technology required in every classroom and it may not fit every teacher right away.  But having an effective policy does allow schools to advance technology goals in a safe and controlled environment.

Works Cited

BYOD Teacher Management Tips. (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://www.be.wednet.edu/cms/lib2/WA01001601/Centricity/domain/23/tech policy docs/educational tech supports/BYOD Teacher Management Tips.pdf

Holeywell, R. (2013, September 3). BYOD Policies, Growing More Popular, Create Challenges for Schools. Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://www.governing.com/blogs/view/gov-byod-policies-create-school-challenges.html

Martini, P. (2013, December 22). 4 Challenges That Can Cripple Your School’s BYOD Program. Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/4-challenges-can-cripple-schools-byod-program/

Walsh, K. (n.d.). Awesome Free Ed Tech Resources eBook! Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://www.emergingedtech.com/2012/12/making-byod-work-in-schools/

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Week 8 Reflection

This week’s topic was a lot of fun for me as I had the opportunity to sit down with my 10-year-old son and explore a topic that makes him very excited – Minecraft.  When he first started playing Minecraft, I was pretty unsure about the educational benefits.  After conducting research and learning more about it, I am excited about how I can employ this educational tool in my classroom. The Twitter chat and discussions on the blogs forced me to really think about the applications of Minecraft in my classroom more than I originally posted.  My experience with Minecraft in education has been limited to one or two students submitting assignments.  I have had students turn in assignments created on Minecraft that replicate World War I battlefields/battles. Students’ video recorded their presentation as they taught us about the dangers and pitfalls of life in trenches during the Great War.  This was great, but the class discussions and twitter chat this week really got me thinking and looking for new ways I could implement Minecraft if every student in my classroom had access to a computer. I would have students create entire medieval villages as shown in the video below.  Students can go further than showing the class their village. Students could create various roles to play in a class activity and they can create the world digitally, and role-play the world as a class activity.

I also found the following website to be pretty exciting as far as opening my eyes to the many possibilities of applying Minecraft to Social Studies. http://amylandisman.com/2013/10/minecraft-history-project-ideas-and-lesson-plan/ The long and short of it is that I was not fully sold that Minecraft could be a viable learning unit for my Social Studies classroom at the beginning of the week.  I know it could be used, but the applications seemed to fit other subject areas better (Math, Language Arts).  I ran across a 7 Wonders of the World Social Studies Unit and I think that could also be a fantastic opportunity for students to learn more about locations such as the Coliseum, Parthenon, and the Taj Mahal.  Students could explain to the class what the structure was made of, what it was used for, and its significance to the history of the different cultures. Recreating a Tlingit village was yet another Social Studies Unit I was excited to learn more about along with the same theme as the Medieval village assignment. It has been a good week as I have learned a lot about a fun yet creative emerging technology.  Like many video games (outside of Mario Brothers) I find myself on the outside looking in.  I have a healthy skepticism about what video games are actually beneficial to learning and what games are just fun.  After researching the educational uses of Minecraft, I am convinced that there are many great ways I can incorporate this technology into my classroom and students will have fun learning.

Essential question: What Minecraft game could you create that would help students learn? #uaemergtech

minecraft_blox

Several years ago a group of students at my high school in conjunction with the Technology Director at Cordova High School began looking into the educational benefits of Minecraft.  At that point I had no idea what Minecraft was and I was skeptical that it could be used for any real benefit.  That group of students went on to develop many great ideas and applications for MineCraft in education and presented them during an ASTE conference in 2013 (CSD Board Minutes).  That same year some of the students submitted a project in my World History class on trenches in the Great War and I was very impressed with the evidence of learning, creativity, and critical thinking skills needed by applying Minecraft to education.

Like most things regarding technology in education, if you are having a hard time applying uses for the technology it is likely because you are not thinking big enough.  As I have learned more about Minecraft and its educational benefits the last few years and I have become much more enthusiastic about the many cross curricular benefits.  Coding, Mathematics, Writing, Music, social networking are just some of the areas where Minecraft can benefit students (Minecraft in Education).  Primarily what makes me excited is that students are quickly engaged when using technology,  Minecraft in particular.  Applying the Constructivist Learning Theory to Minecraft in education is an easy fit.  “This theory states that learning is an active process of creating meaning from different experiences…  This has led many educators to believe that the best way to learn is by having students construct their own knowledge instead of having someone construct it for them” (Constructivist Learning Theory).  Or in reality, it is not so much about what Minecraft game I could create for my students but what my students could create for me that reflects their learning, creativity, and critical thinking skills.

I live with a Minecraft enthusiast and his mother and I have long tormented over the costs/benefits of video games and screen time in particular.  In the video below, you can see his perspective on Minecraft.  While he does take a minute to warm up, you can see that he is enthusiastic about Minecraft and the freedom and creativity it allows him to express.  While there are certainly some video games that we would not allow him to play (for lack of educational benefits) we feel that he has grown academically from Minecraft and would continue to benefit from Minecraft applied in a more organized educational setting.

@JasonBoerger

Works Cited

CSD Board Minutes.  (2013, March 1).  http://www.cordovasd.org/cms/lib6/AK01001832/Centricity/Domain/39/2012_13schyr/130313AppMins.pdf
Constructivist Learning Theory. (n.d.). Retrieved July 7, 2015, from https://www.nde-ed.org/TeachingResources/ClassroomTips/Constructivist _Learning.html
Graham, L. (2015, January 26). Simply engaging and utterly consuming: #Givercraft 2014 Michigan Virtual Learning Research Institute | MVU | Michigan Virtual University. Retrieved July 7, 2015.
Minecraft in Education. (2015, June 25). Retrieved July 7, 2015.  http://minecraft.gamepedia.com/Minecraft_in_education

Week 7 Reflection

What a great week we had discovering a technology that appears to have the ability to impact almost all areas of our lives.  Education, Industry, and Medicine are just some of the fields that will be radically transformed.  Of course with any such drastic changes, there will be concerns regarding them.  What are the moral/ethical, social, and political challenges that will sweep across America as this technology booms?  Also looms the question about how rapidly the major breakthroughs will take to manifest themselves?  The more rapid the advances occur, the stronger the push back will be from traditionalists or those fearing this change.  At present, 3D printers are a very useful piece of educational equipment that every technology program should have.  3D printers additionally have a variety of positive uses in every subject area and at every grade level.

I struggled with how my blog appeared to waiver off course toward the wider implications of 3D printing.  As I read about how 3D printers could reshape the nature of industry and medicine, I felt utterly blown away by the future ramifications.  I do feel it is relevant information, especially if one is as ignorant as I was going into this topic.  3D printers seem like a great way to enhance a classroom experience at the surface level… a nice tool among many others that we have researched this semester. But if you project the future of 3D printing to be what many others do… it becomes a critical piece of technology that all students will need to use daily in their homes and offices.  It becomes urgent that students develop the critical thinking skills to be able to design, modify, and share digital blueprints.

Discussion on the blogs this week yielded rather bland exchanges on a whole. I feel that most of us are in agreement that the educational impacts of 3D printing are great.  I learned that Leapfrog already has produced many lesson plans that utilize 3D printing.  That will be a great way for teachers to get started.  There also was some discussion on the pros and cons of eating 3D printed food… What are the long-term benefits/drawbacks of that?  As this technology progresses I brace for an onslaught of debate over the moral and ethical uses of 3D printing in medicine.  Will stem cells be used for these printers?  Will insurance even cover these procedures?  Of course, with the uncertainty of our health care system today, who knows if we can even begin to answer those questions?  In industry, many jobs will be lost as 3D printers take their place.  Also, as mentioned in my blog there are many national security issues and concerns as blueprints for weapons of all sorts will be shared across the digital world.  How will our government and other governments handle and regulate this industry?

Regardless of how 3D printers will change our world in the future, they have great potential educational benefits for us today.  Visual learners and those who prefer hands-on learning will love what 3D printers can bring to their classroom.  It is an exciting time to be an educator and have the chance to be at the forefront of incorporating this technology and sharing it with our students.

How can 3D printing change the way we think about education? Week 7 #uaemergtech

3D_print_icon

Prior to researching 3D printing’s impacts on education, my knowledge was pretty limited on the subject.  I was aware of small objects (gears, gismos, etc.) that were printed in liquid plastics and used for fairly mundane tasks.  I assumed I would learn about simple educational manipulatives, useful in a few specialized subject areas like robotics.   What I was not prepared for was the mind-blowing implications of 3D printing in health care, industry, and education.  Its impacts have the potential to revolutionize almost all aspects of our lives and our students need to be prepared to contribute to this industry.

My initial lack of excitement about 3D printing simply stemmed from a limited vision. “If you’re not excited by 3-D printing it’s because you’re not thinking big enough” (Federico-O’Murchu, 2014).  Forget simple plastic gears and miniature toy soldiers and start thinking about artificial human tissue and replacement organs and all of the sudden 3D printing takes on a whole new light.   A new method of 3D printing is being proposed that could help treat diseases like osteoarthritis.  Dr. Tuan, a leader in this field who is trying to help million of Americans says, “We hope that the methods we’re developing will really make a difference, both in the study of the disease and, ultimately, in treatments for people with cartilage degeneration or joint injuries” (Sher, 2014).  Not only will 3D printers improve our physical quality of life, they also have the potential to increase human life expectancy dramatically.  “Realistically, we’re going to be living to 100 …110. With bio-printed organs, living to 110 won’t be anything like living to that age today” (Federico-O’Murchu, 2014).  While we are a long way from advanced 3D printed organs, the future applications of 3D printing is thrilling.

lux-3d-printingThe graph above shows a variety of industries that are soon expected to rapidly utilize 3D printers.  But the truth is, nearly every industry will be impacted. Imagine a world where instead of running to an auto-parts store, you purchase the specific part from the Internet and print it off right at home.  This advancement would save significant money in transportation costs and potentially a reduction in pollution.  “A 3D printer such as the open-source RepRap may not only pay for itself but actually save money by making just 20 household items — such as shower-curtain rings and safety razors — per year” (Hsu, 2013).  Another major advantage of a 3D printing is that you can make modifications on projects to fit your specific needs. Imagine a world where 3D printing occurs at home or in local stores and replaces large-scale manufactured goods. “In such a world, only raw materials and digital designs would cross national borders” (Hsu, 2013).  As 3D printing develops, new industries will rush to create and sell digital designs and new laws and protections will need to be put into place.  Our government has already scrambled to protect the public from potential terrorists downloading and sharing bombs, grenades, and machine guns – all capable of being printed in 3D (Winter, 2013).  More alarming, these weapons will be printed free of any serial number or other common ways of being traced.  “Proposed legislation to ban 3D printing of weapons may deter, but cannot completely prevent their production, even if the practice is prohibited by new legislation, online distribution of these digital files will be as difficult to control as any other illegally traded music, movie or software files” (Winter, 2013).  Currently objects printed cannot compete in quality or final polish of a manufactured good, but given time there are many products that consumers will increasingly want to print for themselves.   Security, safety, copyright questions will need to be answered as this newly emerging industry sorts itself out and schools are just the place to begin discussing these issues.

All of this is relevant information as we look at 3D printers and their applications in schools today. It is obvious that students will be working with 3D printers in their professional and personal lives in increasing numbers.  In the graphic below, there is a list of educational uses for 3D printers.  3d-Printing-in classroomThis is certainly not a comprehensive list of uses.  Most of these examples enhance tactile hands-on learning.  The benefits of 3D printing easily range from K-college and in all subject areas.  “As far as how this can be used in education, it’s a matter of bringing objects out of the computer screen and into the hands of students for inspection, analysis, and other processes that can benefit from physical manipulation.  In that way, 3D printers may eventually be able to bridge the gap between the physical and the digital–use a screen to find what you need, then print it into existence” (“10 Ways 3D Printing Can Be Used In Education [Infographic]”).  There are many critical thinking opportunities 3D printing opens up to our students.  Government students will need to debate the ethics of open source vs. private property rights as it applies to 3D designs.  As well as the government’s ability/right to regulate this industry (Freedom vs. Safety).  3D printing in schools isn’t just about plugging a printer in and pushing “print”.  This emerging technology opens the door for educators to equip students with the ability to design, create, modify, and engineer new products to fit specific learning objectives.  Students will be able to collaborate and share design ideas and improve upon those ideas and apply them to a variety of different situations.  These critical thinking and problem solving abilities are enhanced through 3D printing and will be in high demand in the future.

3D printing has amazing ramifications in medicine, industry, and education. The more I learn about what they can do, the more my mind starts to spin with the possibilities.  The video below addresses how 3D printers have changed education in one school.  As this technology advances and becomes more affordable, I expect 3D printers to find a regular place in the classroom as well as our homes and offices.

@JasonBoerger

Works Cited

Federico-O’Murchu, L. (2014, May 11). How 3-D printing will radically change the world. Retrieved June 28, 2015, from http://www.cnbc.com/id/101638702

Hsu, J. (2013, August 12). How 3D Printing Will Save You Money. Retrieved June 29, 2015, from http://www.tomsguide.com/us/how-3d-prinitng-save-money,news-17332.html

On a mission to help schools uncover the benefits of 3D printing for teaching. (n.d.). Retrieved June 28, 2015, from http://www.lpfrg.com/education

Sher, D. (2014, April 29). New 3D Bioprinting Method Using Visible Light – 3D Printing Industry. Retrieved June 28, 2015, from http://3dprintingindustry.com/2014/04/29/researchers-demonstrate-new-3d-bioprinting-method-using-visible-light-cartilage-production/

Winter, J. (2013, May 23). Homeland Security bulletin warns 3D-printed guns may be ‘impossible’ to stop. Retrieved June 29, 2015, from http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/05/23/govt-memo-warns-3d-printed-guns-may-be-impossible-to-stop/

3-D Printer Powers High School Projects. (n.d.). Retrieved June 28, 2015, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpYp2qCbWLs

10 Ways 3D Printing Can Be Used In Education [Infographic]. (2013, February 19). Retrieved June 30, 2015, from http://www.teachthought.com/technology/10-ways-3d-printing-can-be-used-in-education/

 

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

Week 6: What are the compelling arguments both for and against computer coding in schools? #uaemergtech

keep-calm-and-keep-coding-6

Reading, writing, arithmetic, and coding?  While the educational world has been slow to implement some of the emerging technologies, there is no doubt that a push for higher student performance will initiate future measures.  Traditional methods of education have been scrutinized as technology allows us to enrich student learning in ways previously thought impossible.  Educators are excited by the freedom and creativity technology provides and there is great carryover benefits to many subject areas.  In keeping with our drive to help students create and integrate technology, offering computer coding to students may be a natural fit.  The implementation of coding in our schools presents both positive and negative aspects.

President Obama has issued the charge for U.S. schools to attack our nation’s failings in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) subject areas.  One way for us to equip our students for the increasing technology demands of our world is to widely implement coding into our curriculum.  “Apps now manage nearly every aspect of our lives, personally and professionally. We have dozens of apps on our smartphones and tablets for our finances, fitness and everything in between; and we rely on nearly as many to do our jobs” (Scratch, nd).  Nearly all businesses are being transformed by the App, and coding is at the heart of App creation.  It is easy to connect the dots and try to prepare our students for a successful transition into the world of work by equipping them with the skills to code.

By the year 2020, it is estimated that we will see a 22% increase in computer related jobs.  This industry is growing faster than most other jobs (Zamora, 2014).  As if this isn’t exciting enough, there is also strong evidence to show coding develops motor neuron pathways and opens the gates to new learning (Zamora, 2014).  Coding allows for students to become more creative and to solve complex problems.  For these reason alone it certainly seems worth it for schools to turn a focus on to coding and there is a strong push to require Computer Science as a core subject area.  Some districts, like Chicago Public Schools, are moving forward with making Computer Science a core subject “In order to prepare our children for careers in the 21st century, we’ve increased access to high-quality STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs throughout the district,” said district CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett (Zumbach, “CPS to make computer science a core subject”).

There are many compelling arguments for offering coding in schools.  I would not, however, like to see it be a requirement at any high levels.  First of all, not every student needs to code to be successful in this world.  Schools are already taxed to provide the basic educational coverage to their students as it it.  As Schwartze says in her argument against coding in schools, “achieving universities’ top-down demands to deliver students with writing, comprehension, and communication and mathematics skills is already a tall order.  Throwing yet another demand into the mix would be unrealistic for many schools, and for the students” (2014).  If we are going to require coding why should we stop there?  Why not require plumbing, carpentry, or accounting courses?  These courses would all be valuable for students to know as well, but it is simply not practical to offer everything.  If we are going to require coding in schools it will mean two things.  First, students will need to forgo time spent learning (presumably) other core subjects.  Second, schools will need to hire professionals who are equipped to teach coding.  (Luring teachers from more lucrative fields may be problematic.)  Finally, teaching a coding language in use today may not necessarily be widely useful next year.  “In order to empower everyone to build apps, we need to focus on bringing greater abstraction and automation to the app development process. We need to remove code — and all its complexity — from the equation” (Scratch, nd).  Coding as we know it today may not exist, or be necessary for future App creation and development.  Teaching students to think critically and creatively and to have confidence exploring the world of technology may be a better focus for our schools than a specific coding skill.

There are many benefits to offering computer coding in schools.  It is clearly has value that will foster creativity, problem solving, and potentially develop a skill to fast track a career.  I would not like to see coding required at advanced levels for all students, however.  I do not feel that the benefits outweigh the problems for widespread coding requirements.   I think it would be very forward thinking of schools and universities to accept coding as a foreign language substitute and I would like to see it available at all schools.  Coding is a very important skill and should be widely offered at our schools.  Yet I am far more concerned with developing critical thinking students with a desire to be life-long learners than I am students with an advanced narrow and specific skill set.

@JasonBoerger

Works Cited:

Baron, S. (n.d.). 20 Resources for Teaching Kids How to Program & Code. Retrieved June 23, 2015, from http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/20-resources-for-teaching-kids-how-to-program-code-200374

Drum, K. (2014, April 23). Not everyone needs to learn programming, but every school should offer it. Retrieved June 23, 2015, from http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2014/04/not-everyone-needs-learn-programming-every-school-should-offer-it

Schwartze, B. (2014, November 14). Should we teach computer science in elementary school? Retrieved June 23, 2015, from https://www.iste.org/explore/articledetail?articleid=216

Scratch, G. (n.d.). Should We Really Try to Teach Everyone to Code? Retrieved June 23, 2015, from http://www.wired.com/2015/02/should-we-really-try-to-teach-everyone-to-code/
Zamora, W. (2014, April 1). Why Coding Should Be Taught in Elementary School. Retrieved June 23, 2015, from http://techblog.evan-moor.com/2014/04/01/coding-taught-elementary-school/
Zumbach, L. (2013, December 10). CPS to make computer science a core subject. Retrieved June 23, 2015, from http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-12-10/news/ct-cps-computer-science-plan-met-1210-20131210_1_computer-science-ceo-barbara-byrd-bennett-code-org