Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Can Young Kids Learn to Code - Podcast

Can Young Kids Learn to Code - Podcast

This is a podcast done by Level Up Village and their program Parenting & Education Chatting Over Coffee.  The guest speaker was Aimee Shuhart who is a media specialist.

The main questions of the podcast were can children learn to code and is it really the new literacy as is being touted in the media.  Ms. Shuhart said that coding is programming or giving instructions to a computer or machine.  She believes that it is great for teaching creative thinking through play and experimentation.  She mentioned some brain research that showed that gaming (and I think using computers to create games) can help with multi-tasking, problem solving, collaboration, and creative thinking.  She wouldn’t go so far as to say it is a new literacy and that every child should learn to code but she did recommend it.  In her school she does coding with students at lunch.  

During the podcast they also talked about gaming in general and she recommended games such as Lego Game Club, Club Penguin, Toon Town, Wizard 101, and Minecraft.

Her tips for coding with children was for parents and children to learn together and for parents to show an interest in it.

During the podcast the speakers referred to Scratch which can be found at ,  They also mentioned the idea that coding is the new literacy which can be seen at and is being promoted by Bill Gates, Steve Zuckerman, and others.

Curriculum Suggestions: 

For teachers or librarians who are interested in providing a coding club or extracurricular opportunity this podcast gives some background and ideas about how to do it.  Aimee Shuhart talks about some of the programs and websites that can be used.

Personal Thoughts:

Before taking LIBR 240 I was asked why I would want to learn to code when so much has already been done for us.  But there have been a lot of articles and media about students learning to code.  Now that I have taken the course I can see the benefit of kids learning how to code.  I am seriously considering a lunch group or an afterschool club using Scratch or Codeacademy.  It is funny how Will. I. Am talks about coders as being “rock stars” in the video on  I guess the question is why let other people code and make all the money?  Let’s teach our students how to code and be creative problem solvers.

High Interest Annotation:  Why should kids learn to code for themselves?

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