Kindergartners Need to Learn Computer Coding, Author Urges Her Teaching Colleagues in New Book
WASHINGTON — A Wisconsin educator says waiting until college or later to learn computer coding skills is too late, and she’s started a crusade to motivate teachers to introduce these skills to students as early as kindergarten through fifth grade.
“We are already teaching these concepts to students … I’m just connecting them to a coding lens. I absolutely want to start a movement that focuses on coding as a vehicle for students to create content,” says author Heidi Williams, the head of school for Jefferson Lighthouse, an International Baccalaureate Primary Years World School in Racine, Wis.
Her new book, No-Fear Coding: Computational Thinking Across the K-5 Curriculum, presents a rationale for introducing coding to young students — to set them up for future success and prepare them for more advanced coding in middle and high school. Williams’ argument is bolstered by a recent article in Entrepreneur that details the challenges educators face when trying to prepare students for jobs that haven’t been invented yet.
In her book, Williams explains coding lessons that are easily incorporated into math, science, English language arts and social studies teaching. Each lesson features alignment to standards, lesson plans and worksheets, and provides explanations of coding tools, including Bee-Bots, Scratch, Code.org and ARIS.
The book, published by the International Society for Technology in Education®, includes case studies and contributions from educators that illustrate how easily and effectively coding can be introduced, and how eager students often are to advance in this new skill. In the words of a first-grade student after completing a binary decoding computational thinking activity described in the book, “Coding is fun…I’m going to be a computer scientist!”
Williams writes that part of her motivation is to get more schools to teach coding. According to Code.org, only 40 percent of U.S. schools teach computer programming to students, despite the fact that 71 percent of all new jobs in STEM are in computing. “Thus, exposing all students to computer science, beginning in kindergarten, is essential for continued economic growth,” she writes.
ISTE, the premier source for books on education technology, will release the book in July; it’s available for preorder at iste.org/CodingKto5.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE®) is the premier membership organization serving educators and education leaders committed to empowering connected learners in a connected world. ISTE serves more than 100,000 education stakeholders throughout the world.
Innovative offerings include the widely adopted ISTE Standards for learning, teaching and leading in the digital age - as well as the ISTE Conference & Expo -the world's most comprehensive edtech event. The organization's robust suite of professional learning resources feature online courses, consulting services for schools and districts, books, and peer-reviewed journals and publications. For more information, visit iste.org. Subscribe to ISTE's YouTube channel and connect with ISTE on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.