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I can code and so can you
When I began teaching 10 years ago, the only technology I had in my classroom was an overhead projector and a computer that crashed after running for five minutes. Cell phones were still just cell phones. My students and I could use the computer to research information on the Internet and write documents, but that was the extent of our skills.
During my first staff meeting, our principal flashed a graphic on the screen that said the jobs our students will take in the future do not yet exist in the present. So how do you properly prepare them?
You teach them to code.
Fast forward 10 years and the majority of schools now have one to one technology in the classroom. Students turn in assignments digitally and type out their notes. Virtual labs give kids lab experiences that schools had before been unable to afford.
And yet we still struggle to answer the question of how to give students the skills necessary to thrive in positions that do not yet exist. The challenge is to create a generation that is mentally flexible, acute and equipped with the mental disposition of being able to teach themselves any new skill given the opportunity.
The greatest way to build the innovators of tomorrow is to teach them how to code today.
But we cannot stop at teaching students to simply code. To built critical thinkers, we must overhaul our current way of teaching computer science.
Instead of directly teaching concepts like functions, conditionals and loops, and then allowing students to practice with the information, we must offer them the opportunity to teach themselves with a teacher in the support role.
Florence County in South Carolina is on the leading edge of this moment. In partnership with Discovery Place Education Studio, they are building an innovative four-year high school coding program that will build students who are multi-fluent in different coding language, understand the importance of human centered design in software programming, and have the ability to teach themselves new code as it evolves.
This ground-breaking project will reshape how code is learned, expand its size and presence within the school, and open up the minds of students to be creative.
Schools do not need to stay stagnant and function in the manner that they have for centuries. Districts all over the country are learning how to build environments that equip students for a quickly changing world.
Here in the Carolinas, we know that coding will build a generation of innovators in a variety of career fields. Will you join us on our journey?