For years, since 2008 to be exact, we have been bombarded by various coding for kids initiatives one more elaborate after another. Now don’t get me wrong, I love coding, but do I think that it is for everyone, no I don’t. My take on this is that coding by itself is too narrow skillset for what it has been branded for. The real skillset is computational thinking and logic.
Computational thinking is the thought processes involved in 15formulating a problem and expressing its solution(s) in such a way that a computer—human or machine—can effectively carry out.
Should want to know more I urge you to sign up for this free MOOC-course from Google
Another great resource to find out more about Computational thinking is BBC Bytesize course
So where does that leave coding and should we still do that? For me the answer is clear, we definitively need to teach our students computer literacy and make coding an optional, but the fun part of it. That is why I have chosen an instrumental approach to teach coding. We use hands-on manipulatives and tell digital stories from Early Years onwards:
Here a Grade 1 student is sharing and playing with Cubetto in EY1. The key word here is playing and modeling the computational thinking, not formally teaching it. Students are exposed into logical sequencing through interaction with the older student and the robot.
After playing with manipulatives, like Cubetto, we’ll introduce also a digital playgroung. Students will have similar options to play and interact with their device. We still won’t have a formal teaching of coding but instead respond to students needs to make and create interactions in their digital stories.