There’s no better time to teach kids how to program than now
Many students have an inherent curiosity about the technology that they use every day.
The idea of “hacking,” “modding,” or customizing a computer or website excites them and gives them ownership of the machines they use at school and home. Most students want to know how the games they love work. Some students just love the idea of making something through a computer.
But loving the idea is one thing – following through on that interest is another.
This is Chapter 2 of our ebook “A Brief Introduction to Programming.” Click here if you want to download the entire ebook for free.
How might students be motivated to learn how to program?
Research has shown that providing enriching STEM experiences at the K-12 level can have massive effects on what decisions your students might make in their future.
To get their students to learn how to code, many teachers use highly gamified computer science or programming activities as a “free time” reward. However, we don’t agree with this method.
Rather than introducing coding as a medium to play games, we encourage you to engage your students creatively and help them design and outline programs they want to write.
When students have a say in what they’re creating, they find intrinsic motivation to push themselves to learn and connect concepts that they might not have otherwise. Programming is an interdisciplinary skill that requires critical thinking, ordered code, correct spelling, and a clear idea of what you’re trying to get the computer to do. They can write some code, test if it works, make adjustments, and repeat to completion without ever thinking that they did something wrong.
Many of our students mention how programming has helped them to develop a growth mindset. They begin to switch their mindsets from “it’s wrong,” “it’s not working,” or “it’s broken” over to “it’s just not quite there yet.” This shift can be especially beneficial to students that struggle in a specific subject such as math or reading. Instead of seeing their struggles as a failure, they can better understand that they’re getting closer but that they’re “just not quite there yet.”
Our curriculum cultivates this growth mindset while aligning with NGSS, Common Core Math Principles, and 4 Cs of Collaboration. We’ve set it up such that all of our coding projects touch on core skills that students can continue to hone and apply for the rest of their lives.
What Does the Job Market look like?
Fantastic, but the problem is that the United States isn’t producing enough engineers to meet the projected demand.
Even if your students don’t want to do engineering or programming in their future – they’ll still have to work closely with technology and computers in almost any career they choose. Having an understanding of how that technology works will give your students an edge in whatever field they wish to pursue.
All data for the infographics above is possible due to a partnership with Google and Microsoft. Please check out the links below to read the complete studies and learn about the inequalities that exist in Computer Science Education today.