Pros and Cons of Computer Coding in School

I looked in the section for elementary coding pros and cons. I have to agree with some opinions that students should learn social skills, fine motor, and gross motor skills( NY times roundtable). I can also say that as an educator, it’s getting so hard to fit in all the demands of different curricular requirements in my own experience. Should teaching computer sciences compete for the minimal  time I have for other content area instruction like science, social studies, health, and PE? Should I teach how children how to program a computer instead of how to communicate with people over the phone, or in person? When would we practice this when a lot of technology in our schools isn’t up to date in most cases. I don’t know if I wasn’t looking in the right research, but I didn’t find anything really to support the reasons to be against coding.

Phipps( 2014) says that it’s never too late to learn to program and her article spoke about kinds of ways to reach children across a spectrum of ages. I wasn’t saying that optimal learning of vocabulary was between the ages of 4 and 6. She also said that people in high school and college have learned about computer sciences with success. A contradictory article said that CS should be taught in elementary (Zamora, 2014). She states that kids should learn the language acquisition of CS alongside the instruction for language arts so that students can learn the high tech language in high school since they are predisposed to the vocabulary.

I leave you with this  quote, “In the 21st century, every student should learn to program, for three reasons. Computational thinking is an essential capability for just about everyone. Programming is an incredibly useful skill: fields from anthropology to zoology are becoming information fields, and those who can bend the power of the computer to their will have an advantage over those who can’t. Finally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 71 percent of all new jobs in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) during the next decade will be in computer science” ( Strauss, 2014)

I am leaving my personal opinion out of this component of computer coding and I’m going to be open in reading and responding to others’ insights.

References

Phipps, 2014. Should kids learn to code?. Georgia Assembly. Retrieved on June 25 from https://blog.generalassemb.ly/should-kids-learn-to-code/

Strauss. Valerie. 2014. All students should learn to code. right? not so fast. Washington Post. May 29, 2014. Retrieved on June 25, 2015 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/05/29/all-students-should-learn-to-code-right-not-so-fast/

Zamora, W. 2014. Why coding should be taught in elementary school. Education technology blog. Evan Moor. Retrieved on June 25, 2015 from http://techblog.evan-moor.com/2014/04/01/coding-taught-elementary-school/

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4 thoughts on “Pros and Cons of Computer Coding in School

  1. I very much agree with your comment on teacher being overloaded with too much to teach already, and though if I ever get my own classroom again, I might try to teach that scratch program, because I thought it look really cool, all boiled down my feeling is, if schools want us to do this, they need to put it in the standards.

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  2. Barbara, I agree with you there were very few compelling reasons against coding in school.
    I did not have the opportunity to read your blog until Sunday, 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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  3. I agree with your comment that this is worth teaching, and that we don’t expect our children to be rock stars, but to expose them to technology. 🙂 I was just saying that I don’t seem to have time in my schedule for much of anything. It would also build motivation if teachers were trained, and had a purpose like a project.

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