If this is what you imagine when hearing the word code? We understand that feeling. Does the very term code or programming make you feel uneasy?
Break it down
Many EdTech solutions have alienated educators and students by not providing enough support at the most basic level. We’ve heard high school teachers say that their students need to go back to basics because they don’t have the foundational understanding they need to cope with the computer science curriculum.
The thing is, that although this is code (C# code to be exact) nobody can expect you to understand or be able to write it without years of practice. That would be like wanting to learn Russian and starting with War and Peace by Tolstjov in its original language.
If you want to learn Russian, or any language, you would naturally start by learning the alphabet and easy words or phrases.
It is exactly the same when learning to code.
And remember, when comparing learning to code with learning a new language, this new language is not foreign. It is present right here in our increasingly digitized everyday lives, regardless of our location. It permeates our lives and becomes visible through things like targeted advertisement, or smart light systems and programmable home assistants. This is also why all of our children need to learn the basics of coding.
There are various coding languages, but they are actually quite alike, so they are more like coding dialects. And although there is no coding alphabet, all coding languages are based on the same principle vocabulary of terms, symbols, numbers, and coding concepts.
The first step should be to break it down and teach the basic concepts that transcend the various coding languages such as routines, functions, sequences, loops and variables. By giving the children this basic understanding they will have a foundation for moving on to more advanced coding throughout their education.
So, just as kindergartners are taught to read and write, we believe that educators should help students get to grips with computer science by teaching the syntax of coding before moving on to more advanced levels.
For examples of how to introduce coding concepts in a simple, playful way, see our inspirational activities Number line and Let’s Play a Game for students aged 4+. All of our classroom activities introduce the basics of coding, while taking a cross-curricular STEAM approach that encourages collaboration and creative expression.
By Karoline Duus
Karoline Duus is a consultant in learning and behavioural theories, based in Denmark.