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By working with the head of technology at the middle school my sons I attend, I was able to gain access to two teachers who felt they had room in their curriculum to squeeze in an hour of coding during the official week December 8-14. These teachers opened their classrooms to me, and I spent each hour working directly with students as they tried out the various tutorials on the Hour of Code site. The best part? Hearing kids say "hey miss--I got it! I figured it out!" None of the students with whom I worked had any previous experience with coding.
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Across the globe, schools are beginning to see the benefits of teaching coding. While jobs in the future might motivate some people to teach coding, I can imagine others are less motivated by jobs and more motivated by other benefits. Coding teaches students problem solving and forces them to pay attention to details, and if you have students work in teams on coding, they are also learning valuable skills as members of a team.
Business and community partners have everything to gain by volunteering time and resources in our public schools. Microsoft sends their engineers to schools to teach courses and volunteer, and several other organizations (including Facebook, Google, and the Ford Foundation) partner together as part of the #yeswecode movement. One of my favorite holiday activities this year was following Google's work with lighting up Christmas trees (an initiative aimed at getting more girls to code) and encouraging kids to use the Santa Tracker to code. Certainly, these activities are specific to people who celebrate Christmas, but since I celebrate Christmas, I found it fun to see the opportunities to make the holiday a continued learning experience.
Whether you are a parent, teacher, administrator, or community member reading my blog, I want to encourage you to support more coding opportunities in the area where you live because it's interesting to kids and it provides them valuable skills and experiences in life now and for their future.
Earlier this month, I attended and presented at the Achieve Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. so my colleagues and I took a walk the first evening to see the Christmas lights. We were excited to see the trees that were lit because students wrote computer code to light them up.