Tuesday, May 13, 2014


There's a really interesting discussion taking place about the role of coding in the elementary school classroom. A colleague at SMC, VBJ, alerted me to this article in the NYT in which the topic is debated from a number of perspectives, some of which seem to be quite factual while others appear to be based on opinion and beliefs. It reminds me to some extent of the current debate about global warming. There are those who take it seriously because they have read the research and those who just believe it's not an issue.

The NYT debate is interesting because it starts off as a simple discussion about the role or coding  in the elementary school  and seems to morph into a discussion of the wider issue of the role of technology in the K-12 curriculum. As with most things these days, there seems to be a polarizing of opinion from John Dvorak' idea that it is a scam, to Hadi Partovi's plea to teach coding as early as possible. Each, of course, argues from the position of self interest a little bit like the members of our national government as opposed to examining the merits and demerits of the topic itself.

I've watched young children in elementary schools use code to program Lego models they have built, and I've recently discovered Code.org. I've watched teachers integrate engineering and technology  activities with math and ELA  activities to motivate children  to read and develop their math skills. There is no need to develop an either/or approach to the integration of these new concepts and skills into he elementary school curriculum.

Some argue that we must attend to "the basics" in elementary school although very few people seem to agree upon what these are. Some will include coding as a basic, along with keyboarding, while others still believe they consist of the 3 euphonious Rs as John Merrow calls them.

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