Friday, December 6, 2013

Why code and why the big push to code?

With the hour of code coming up next week, there has been a large focus on coding in classrooms. So, why the big focus on coding? What does coding offer for students?

Regardless of any intellectual benefits, I think it is based on the concept of coding. It's about taking risks and exploring potential and problem solving. No, we will not all become professional coders. However, we can all learn from the skills involved in coding - problem solving, creative thinking, and risk-taking. It's a risk to learn something new and to try something new. It's also a risk to code because the product is not always known.

Growing up, I was a sports addict (and still am). My dad, a coach himself, believed strongly in guiding girls through sports for one reason - it taught failure. I thank him for that - for teaching me that failure happens and failure allows us to grow. I started running during a time when girls were still getting the chance to run longer distances. And, I attribute women rising to leadership roles to women being allowed in more competitive sports - it allowed them to fail and it allowed them to build relationships.

However, now girls in sports is a common thing. In fact, we guide children into a variety of activities. But, we do so in a different way. In our attempt to get more students involved, we also removed the aspect of failure. And, this has been a detriment to American students.

And, this is why coding has taken the spotlight. When coding, students do not always know the answer. They have to problem solve. And, sometimes, they go down deadends, but they have to find a new solution.

I urge you to implement "code thinking" in your classroom to encourage problem solving and, yes, to encourage failure.

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