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Day 06/04/2015

empowering children with 21st century skills – { coding…*}

A few weeks ago I blogged about the empowering experience of storytelling. This got me thinking about the various types of skills and experiences we can provide to students that will enable them to have a stake in their own education but also prepare them for the 21st century. We’ve blogged about many of these skillsets before, such as multimodal literacy, play, and skepticism,. One such modern-day tool is coding.

As Mitch Resnick explains in a 2012 Tedx talk entitled Let’s teach kids to code, he talks about Scratch, a kid-friendly programming software born out of MIT Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten Group. Scratch is intended to cultivate fluency in technologies, to the level that students are able to express themselves creatively. I’ve participated in one Scratch day and a week-long summer logo workshop, where I’ve learned how wonderful this platform is. As Mitch suggests, it’s a fantastic platform for learning coding skills, but it also fosters curiosity, creativity, and student-centered learning.

In this talk, Mitch explains,

As kids are creating projects like this, they’re learning to code, but even more importantly, they’re coding to learn. Because as they learn to code, it enables them to learn many other things, opens up many new opportunities for learning. Again, it’s useful to make an analogy to reading and writing. When you learn to read and write, it opens up opportunities for you to learn so many other things. When you learn to read, you can then read to learn. And it’s the same thing with coding. If you learn to code, you can code to learn. Now some of the things you can learn are sort of obvious. You learn more about how computers work. But that’s just where it starts. When you learn to code, it opens up for you to learn many other things.

With this in mind, I’ve become excited about the many recent initiatives to bring coding experiences to students. Not-for-profit companies such as ScriptEd_ equip underprivileged students with coding skills and internship experiences to bring about this fluency with technology.

As explained in the video above, these coding opportunities are empowering. They open these students’ worlds to a lucrative job market as well as a whole new way to express themselves.

Code to learn. Learn to code …*

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