5 Myths About Coding

Having integrated coding into my math classes, many teachers have asked me how to get started.  I am happy to help.  In talking to many teachers and parents, it seems there is considerable misunderstanding of how coding really fits the elementary school classroom.  Hopefully these points can help us out and generate discussion.

  1. Coding is only useful for students wanting to become computer programmers.
    FALSE: 
    Coding promotes many skills that would prove useful for many students entering a changing job market.  Is science only useful for future scientist?  Is writing only useful for future writers?
  2. You need technology to teach coding.
    SEMI-TRUE: Technology is definitely needed as students progress, but there are many activities for all ages that do not rely on computers or tablets.
  3. The teacher has to learn coding in order to teach it.
    FALSE: 
    Teachers do not necessarily have to be expert programmers.  The resources available today are easy to use.  It is helpful and easy for teachers to pick up these skills alongside their class.
  4. Coding cannot be integrated into the classroom with the many demands of our curriculum.
    FALSE: Coding is definitely a discipline that can be studied in isolation.  However, it can successfully be integrated into many curriculum areas.  The most obvious connection is math.  Can art be integrated into other curriculum areas?
  5. Coding should only be taught in high school since it is too difficult for elementary age students.  Maybe younger gifted students can learn it.
    FALSE: Coding is not as difficult as it seems.  With the global push to promote coding, apps and online software have made it easier for younger students to learn the basics.  Some students may not prefer coding, but all students should be exposed to it!

3 Comments

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3 Responses to 5 Myths About Coding

  1. Aviva

    I can see what you’re saying about these myths, and while I tend to agree with you, I’m going to play Devil’s advocate for a minute. If we really delve deeply, why do we need to teach coding? Are there other things we could be teaching (e.g., good thinking skills through inquiry) that would benefit students in the same way as coding? Could coding be a choice — with some students choosing to pursue it & others not — & how do we help create this real choice in the classroom? As always, your post made me think.

    Aviva

    • Hello Aviva! I think you have said some things that align with the blog post. I said myself that some students will not prefer coding in the blog. For me, it has to exist as an option. It promotes skills such as computational thinking, perseverance, sequence and on and on and on. I think it would be difficult to find something that does all of those things together. That said, I’m sure there are other options. However, if there is a global need for programmers and the skills that are involved then why not pursue it? In my opinion, the choice is important. If students choose another option to demonstrate curriculum . . . I applaud that. However, I think the bigger problem is that too many students are not getting coding as an option.

      • Aviva

        Enzo, I love this last line of yours most of all. We need to make coding a real choice. How do we do this? I know that we don’t need to be expert coders in order to teach/use coding in the classroom, but I wonder if some people feel so unfamiliar/uncertain with it, that the option is too scary one. Maybe we need some tinkering time — possibly even at a staff meeting — to code ourselves. I wonder if this would change the number of times that we offer the choice to code.

        Aviva

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