I still recall a school visit from years ago. I would always poke my head in the office of any school I was visiting, even before it was district policy, to say hi. It was a chance to help staff with anything that might be challenging them at that moment or to answer questions from a principal about what was happening with computers in a particular classroom. There was one principal, lovely lady, but had no interest at the time with technology. I’d still drop in and she would dismiss me with a wave and say “Go do your computer thing”. It still brings me a smile. Technology use in the classroom just hadn’t hit her radar yet.
She wasn’t a blocker, by any means, but just hadn’t felt the love yet. She did later on and became a big supporter.
As Computer Science week winds down, I wonder how many people may be in the same position. The worth of technology is seldom challenged these days but the notion of kids programming computers and making code to do something may well be. After all, this activity is taking away from literacy time on the iPads. With time, I’m sure that this questioning will too pass but in the meantime…
Computer Science teachers are just as passionate about their discipline as any member of the teaching staff. They have their own professional organizations – I’m a member of two – in Ontario, we have ACSE (Association of Computer Science Educators) and globally, the CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association).
Through both organizations, I’ve met such passionate educators who teach Computer Science. Through the CSTA, I had the opportunity to meet Pat Yongpradit, now with Code.org. Recently, he wrote a wonderful article for the Huffington Post that addresses some of the misconceptions of Computer Science education.
- This movement is all about kids getting jobs as programmers
- Computer science and computer literacy are the same.
- Oh I know what CS is… it’s all about coding!
- All you need is an hour of code.
- CS should be taught to older kids, not elementary students.
- The CS movement is new to education.
Each of these misconceptions are debunked in his post – Key Messages of Computer Science Education. Click through to read his thoughts.
I can think of so many reasons why so many should read the post and understand his message.
- Computer Science teachers who need affirmation that they’re on the right track and a lens to understanding other perspectives
- Those trying out the Hour of Code with kids this week and wanting a reality check as to why and why just one hour should just be a start
- Those who haven’t been convinced yet and/or perhaps have bought into those misconceptions
Pat’s post is most certainly share-worthy. Spread his wisdom and perhaps those who read will start to get a sense of the passion and the importance of Computer Science as a discipline. While the iron is hot, get your teacher-librarian to purchase Douglas Rushkoff’s book Program or Be Programmed for the library.
There needs to be momentum going forward as to the importance of offering Computer Science and coding activities to your students.
Or, why not go all in as Noeline Laccetti says:
— NOELINEL (@NoelineL) December 8, 2015