Teaching Computer Science in K-12 Schools
It’s the job of schools and educational establishments to provide our young people with the skills and abilities for the world we live in. The essentials of reading, writing, and mathematics are accompanied by creative lessons, physical activity, and an understanding of history, culture, and life skills.
But what about lessons to help us understand the technology that accompanies almost every person in their daily lives?
Computer Science in K-12 schools is often viewed as a 'nice to have' rather than a 'must-have'. Recent calls for mandatory computer science in schools have had to contend with the limited resources and time available during the school day and must be weighed against the importance of having students pass state tests for algebra.
As the world relies on technology more and more, it is more and more essential for youth to understand how to not only use technology, but how to create, adapt, and utilize it in their everyday lives.
Kids that are not attuned with technology are limiting their access to resources such as; educational content, entertainment, and communication with each other.
When children are left with technology unmonitored, they can be subjected to inappropriate content.
According to a national survey conducted by the Erikson Institute, 86 percent of parents reported that they were satisfied with how their young children use technology, relating technology to benefits associated with child development and literacy. In fact, more than half of the parents said they believe that technology supports school readiness and impacts success in school.' Here is the link for more information related to this study: https://www.erikson.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Erikson-Institute-Technology-and-Young-Children-Survey.pdf
Kids learn to take control of the increasingly technological world around them, giving them an advantage in a future filled with technology and computers.
Technology can enhance kids' cognitive and social learning abilities when it supports “play, creativity, exploration, pretend and active play and outdoor activities.”
K-12 Education Institutions
There are many solutions related to teaching kids to go in a gamified environment.
One of the most successful programs in the US is an incubation from MIT Labs: Scratch.
Scratch is a block-based visual programming language and website targeted primarily at children. Users of the site can create online projects using a block-like interface. The service is developed by the MIT Media Lab, has been translated into 70+ languages, and is used in most parts of the world.
Another great example is Tynker which is already working with 23 million children aged 7+ in 20,000 schools across the world to teach them how to code, create their own apps, and build their own computer programs.
The online course is available to schools, or to parents to have at home, and continues only at the pace of the child using it. The entire platform is available on the Tynker website and there are even apps available for all major smartphones and tablets.
Children follow a step-by-step process, made fun with games and activities aimed at their level of progress, and build apps they can use and show others what they have achieved. Each level will see kids build up to 16 different projects and earn points and trophies along the way.
Scratch - MIT LAbs: https://scratch.mit.edu/
Tynker - https://www.tynker.com/
Sierra Briscoe - www.linkedin.com/in/sierrabriscoe
Giving Tech Labs: giving.tech