Coding – Week 11

Coding – Week 11

Prior to this week’s class I had some, but VERRRRRY minimal experience with coding.  I have never been someone who is drawn to these types of activities. I tried taking computer science in high school and struggled to grasp the concepts, but looking back now, I’m not sure I gave it an honest shot.  This is where my mind goes immediately when thinking about coding, but I feel that there is a much larger Detailed illustration silhouettes of expressive dance colorful group of people dancing. Jazz funk, hip-hop, house dance. Dancer man jumping on white background. Happy celebrationworld of coding out there and after this weeks presentation I now know that coding is much more than computer programming.  As Gilles mentions on his blog coding refers to “everything from choreographing a dance, to designing commands on paper for ozobots, apps, websites, etc.”

Over the last few years I have noticed that a lot of my Grade 7 & 8 students are very into coding, but I was not sure of the benefit that it would have to bring those types of activities into my classroom.  This attitude has made me hesitant to invest a lot of time into something that may not pan out (I need to change this attitude and take some more risks). If it was not clear already, I am not ‘techie’ or an expertDigital composite image of biracial girl enjoying virtual reality with world techies day text in this field by any means which has also led to some apprehension on my behalf.  Does coding need to be taught by a ‘techie’? I don’t think so, but I do believe that it should be taught by someone with more experience than I currently have.

Like I stated earlier, I have little to no experience with coding.  I have worked with students with various opportunities through Sask Code like the Ozobots but that is the extent of my coding repertoire – I struggled more with this than the kids.  What these opportunities told me about my students was that they are persistent, creative and stubborn problem solvers.  They worked together to help solve each other’s problems and celebrated with each other when they were successful!  This week’s presentation really made me think back to those times when I was able to get coding going in my classroom and made me realize that there is more benefit there for our students than I first thought – which is where I focused my attention… how does coding benefit students?

Businessman / BenefitI came across an article 8 Reasons Why Every Child Should Learn to Code while I was doing a little more reading around this whole coding thing, specifically what or how it can benefit my students.  This article outlines 8 main reasons why coding is an important skill for students to learn.  Below are some of the benefits that stood out to me: 


Coding teaches problem solving – this was one of the main things that I observed when watching students engage with the Ozobots a few years ago.  Coding helps students understand and develop anHello Im a Problem Solver Solution FInder Name Tag 3d Illustration appreciation of how things work.  It also shows students how software engineers can use math in a creative way to solve problems.  I believe that problem solving skills of our youth (especially since COVID) has become less and less.  Students struggle to solve the most basic of tasks – I have had students ask me what they should do with a Chromebook that is dead….

Challenges and Builds Resilience – coding provides students the opportunities to bounce back after they have been defeated and a way to show that failure is the best way in which we learn! 

Young woman drawing creativity in a notebookPromotes and Extends Creativity – these activities give students the confidence to try unique things and experiment with their creativity – they are able to design something that is entirely their own! Students thrive off feedback especially from creating something that they put all of their thought and creativity into – this motivates students to take risks and be creative.

Future of Computer Programming – as the technology boom continues being able to code will serve as a very useful skill to learn throughout grade school.  Those who know how to code, could be put in a better position for employment as there are more and more sectors relying on computer code. 

Coding is Fun with Math –  I am sure I am not alone when I say this, a lot of my students do not enjoy math class.  With that being said, math is not my favorite subject to teach.  Coding provides students and teachers to work on math skills in a manner that doesn’t feel like the typical math class.  Students would be organizing, analyzing data while they are using logic and calculation to create. 

Another article from the University of Texas adds a few other main benefits that students could experience through coding.  This article touches on a lot of similar points as the article above, however, they do add some other beneficial reasons for students to learn and teachers to integrate coding into their classrooms.

Improves Computational Thinking –  this is a type of thinking where problems are expressed in a way that a computer would display them.  Students who learn to think in this manner are encouraged to break down complex problems into smaller chunks and as a result expose a pattern.  

DIGITAL LITERACY concept blurred background 3d render illustrationCoding Helps Teach Digital Literacy – when we think about digital literacy, most of us think of cyberbullying, internet safety, digital footprints and online ethics and behavior.  We may not think of coding under this umbrella.  Technology surrounds us and this is something that is not going to change.  Being able to understand and engage with tech isn’t just a good skill to have, it’s a necessity for navigating an already highly digitized society.  Students need to be digitally literate.  Coding has not yet become a day to day necessity, but as our technology keeps advancing it may get to be one, requiring its own type of literacy one day.

Through focusing my post and reading on the benefits of coding, it is safe to say that this is something I now see as worth the time to understand and get confident enough to bring into my classroom.  To begin with, Sask Code seems to be a great place to start and get some helpful tips Gilles, Kirsten & Meenu  have pointed us towards.  I stopped to talk to the Sask Code booth at the teachers convention and they were displaying some very cool projects that we are planning to try and bring into our school to work with our Grade 7 & 8 students – like creating a remote controlled car using a shoe as the frame!




5 thoughts on “Coding – Week 11

  1. My high school introduction to coding mirrored yours Bret. As I ended up teaching in the same division that I attended as a student I had an opportunity to talk to my old computer science teacher. It turns out he was randomly selected to teach computer science because no one else wanted to do it. He told me he had little in the way of support and was “a few days ahead of the class” when he first started teaching it. The language we were using (Microsoft’s Visual Basic) wasn’t the most impenetrable in the world, but I think my teenage apathy combined with an under resourced instructor made for a negative first impression. I was amazed at how far the hour of code activities have come making difficulty concepts accessible. I sometimes wonder if I would have continued on with coding in high school had the tools matured to the point that they are at now.

  2. Great post Brett, it seems like you have changed your opinion after this week’s presentation and doing some more research on your own.

    I also feel similar- I have never coded before (I missed this week’s presentation!) and have not brought it into my classroom. I would not know where to start and don’t feel like at this time I am the best person to do the teaching. I would however be interested in having someone else come in and do some coding activities with my students. Perhaps that is something to make a professional goal of mine for next year.

  3. Well-explained pointers! I agree with the thoughts in your post. It’s not just the educational and career benefits that coding can bring. If our children learn to code, there is research to suggest that it will help them with other skills such as organization, perseverance, problem-solving, and even confidence. When coding, a child will often realize that there will be more than one way to resolve a problem. Sometimes the more simple and more efficient solution can be better.

  4. Great post Bret!
    During my under-graduation days I also tried to do coding but I didn’t enjoy doing it so I never tried to learn it again. But now I know how interesting it is… and we learn so many new skills through it such as problem-solving.
    The time when I was doing my undergraduate studies then coding was taught in a traditional way but now it is much more interesting. I think the new platforms has made us more inclined towards learning coding.
    Thank you for such an amazing post!

  5. Yes, I totally agree with your statement. Coding has really brought students to a great place of understanding and self-development. Coding has multiplied the problem-solving skills of today’s students. It is actually a medium for coders to translate their ideas and thoughts, and through this coding technology, the computer can understand their language and process it accordingly. The whole thing seemed like a beautiful experience to me.

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