Saturday, December 5, 2015

Consider Coding in Your School Library!

With the Hour of Code celebrations kicking off next week in coordination with Computer Science Education Week (December 7-13), students across the nation will be exploring the basics of computer programming and get an introduction to computer science.

Will your school library be part of the celebration?

Why Hour of Code?

The statistics speak volumes.

According to Code.org's site, right now there are 3,930 computing jobs waiting to be filled here in Iowa. Nationally, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (as found via Code.org), "67% of all new jobs in STEM are in computing."

In a society which grows more and more dependent on technology, we need people who can "speak" the language of computers in order to not only keep up with the technology we already have, but, more importantly, to create the technology we've never imagined. How can we expect this to happen if we aren't offering our students the opportunity to explore the skills they'll need? By hosting Hour of Code events, we are allowing our students a deepen their understanding of our technological world and unlock hidden potential and interests that have implications for their futures.

And beyond the implications for our students' future (and our own), there are additional benefits to hosting Hour of Code events for our students. I love this infographic created by Sylvia Duckworth:

Image via @sylviaduckworth

I can bear witness to the "hidden" advantages of providing students the chance to explore coding. As I watched my 2nd through 5th grade students work their way through our Hour of Code events last year, I saw them engaged in authentic and meaningful problem-solving, critical thinking, analyzing and collaborating practices. Students who often hesitant to try new things were willing to take a risk and learn from their mistakes. Students who often rush through work were engaged and determined to finish each challenge placed before them. That's learning at it's best!

So why should libraries be involved in the Hour of Code?

Libraries have always been about empowering our students, encouraging exploration of interests, and supporting literacy. Hour of Code provides our students with an opportunity to do all three.

As a side note, some might argue the coding is a far stretch to literacy. I would argue that your definition of literacy might need to be redefined. Coding is a literacy that requires students to be fluent (read and write) in the language of computers in order to embrace the future and be part of developing the technology that is so much a part of our lives.

Libraries are uniquely situated to serve the needs and interests of all students.  Libraries are intended to support, extend and enhance the traditional curriculum delivered in the regular classrooms. Hosting Hour of Code events is just another extension of these principles.

And like any librarian, you know that you don't have to have all the answers. You just need to know where you can find the resources!

Hour of Code Resources:

Image of the Lewis Central Hour of Code Symbaloo (linked below)
My colleague, Josh Allen, the Technology Integration Specialist was kind enough to create an Hour of Code Symbaloo (pictured above) for our students at Titan Hill Intermediate full of links to online coding games. tutorial videos and information about coding apps. Feel free to use the link to explore with your students as well!

And as an ultimate collection of coding ideas and resources, our friend Shannon Miller has put together a Coding Padlet as a place to reference and share all things coding, just in time for Hour of Code next week!