Code or Not to Code, That is the Question

Code or Not to Code, That is the Question

code.org featuring the Hour of Code is an online website where students anyone can learn to code. I know in high school one of our assignments for our computer class was to create a website that had to have pictures in certain places and words with certain fonts, sizes, etc. Now it had some coding but honestly, I can’t remember it. I do remember being really frustrated when something didn’t work and I couldn’t find that mistake. But the Hour of Code is something else. It is a fun and engaging way for anyone to learn to code. I think it is generally geared to younger students but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy doing one.

This first video is on level 2 of the artist level. One thing I really like was how the levels progressed from one to the other. I didn’t get discouraged right away it something didn’t go right and there was a lot of trial and error as you can see below.

After a couple levels, it got tedious having to repeat the same steps over and over again. Thankfully they introduced a repeat button. I also like how they gave hints if you got stuck at points.

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 1.13.28 PM
Screenshot from code.org. One of the hints I received prior to starting the level. See the math involved?

On the last level of my Hour of Code, you got to basically do whatever you wanted. I decided to make a heart. It definitely took a lot of trial and error to make but it turned out awesome (or so I think)

So why were we talking about coding in our class the other night? Well because coding is becoming more popular now in schools. British Columbia will be including coding in the curriculum. Jeff Booth, CEO of Vancouver’s BuildDirect Technologies Inc. is quoted in the article saying;

Computer science skills … are increasinly critical as technology is where all future job growth lies. There is already a war for talent in technology that has companies like ours searching the world for the best engineers … It’s very possible that computer coding and other technology skills may become as critical as reading and writing.

But Australia, Britain and Nova Scotia have already beat B.C. to the punch to include coding in the curriculum. There are many resources to efficiently teach coding in schools with very valid reasons to do so.  Coding in the Classroom is a great resource that brings anything coding related together.

8 Reason Why Kids Should Learn to Code is an awesome blog post with fantastic reasons to code.

Learning to code teaches you a number of life lessons

  • Learning from mistakes is vital
  • You shouldn’t fear mistakes of failure
  • Success is a scribbly line
  • Persistence pays off
  • Teamwork is important

Computer science forces you to take responsible risks and engage you in the problem solving process of trail and error…

I mean I experienced 4/5 reasonings listed under number 1. Trial and error where my pals throughout.

 

You can check out and interactive infographic at, Infographic: Where a STEM Education Can Take You. And another inforgraphic on STEM facts on Women & Girls below.

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Graphics from forbes.com

Of course, it wouldn’t be complete without hearing the other side of this. Please Don’t Learn to Code is another interesting blog post. One thing that really caught my eye was at the end of the post;

Please don’t advocate learning to code just for the sake of learning how to code. Or worse, because of the fat paychecks. Instead, I humbly suggest that we spend our time learning how to …

  • Research voraciously, and understand how the things around us work at a basic level.
  • Communicate effectively with other human beings.

Another article Should We Really Try to Teach Everyone to Code is similar to the one before. These articles are not saying “we shouldn’t code because 1, 2, and 3” but are saying that we shouldn’t teach code for the sake of teaching code. We should teach these students how to express logic visually, working with other, letting go of the fear of failing and much, much more. Teach the students the benefits of coding and not just coding themselves.

What are your thoughts on coding? Is it some fade that will be considered useless like cursive writing? Or is it something more? Should be force students to learn to code? Or should we allow them to explore it on their own? Should it be mandatory? Or an elective?