Coding Craze: SSPP students get a head start

On any Wednesday afternoon at Ss. Peter and Paul School squeals of laughter and shouts of triumph emanate from the SSPP Media Center.  3rd and 4th grade students jump up to see another student’s screen, slide over to tweak each other’s work and share tips and tricks.  But, these students are not playing computer games; they are making their own.  Students as young as 5 years old are learning the basics of coding and loving it.

Coding is the language used to create computer software, websites, apps and games.  This language is essentially instructions for the computer.  Different languages, such as javascript, have different purposes–some develop websites, some develop apps others develop software.  We already know that young minds are wired for learning and understanding language, so the early grades are the opportune time to introduce basic coding.

In the past we have focused on teaching students how to use technology, now we’ve expanded the curriculum at all grade levels to include how technology works.  We are not just devoting a class or two to the Hour of Code, a national one-week computer science initiative, we host weekly coding clubs and design interdisciplinary projects that introduce coding as a presentation tool.  “This is so empowering for kids”, says Mrs. Missy Lindner, Technology Director at Ss. Peter and Paul School. “They love playing games on the computer and get so excited when they realize they can create their own.  We use coding games to introduce and reinforce basic skills, so the process is fun and challenging.  Even our Pre-K students learn to code using block based, non-literacy coding programs.”  According to Forbes magazine, England is making computer programming a “compulsory school subject at all grade levels.”  Yet, Code.org reports that “only 10 percent of schools in the U.S. teach it, and only nine states recognize it for graduation credit.”

Teaching students to code gives them a marketable life skill and reinforces creative thinking and problem solving.  We are turning passive consumers into active producers of technology.  The Huffington Post reports that “According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics there will be 250,000 new software developer jobs created in the next 10 years. That’s double the growth rate of jobs in general.”  SSPP students are getting a valuable and fun head start!

 

Has your child tried coding or participated in a coding club?  

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