Where does one start? The first thing you have to do as a classroom teacher or a tech coach is TO LEARN IT FIRST. Our workshop facilitator told us the story of how she began coding. She's a 5th grade teacher who had zero background on coding. One day, while on maternity leave, her husband told her matter-of-factly that he watched a youtube video about coding and he thought she should be teaching it to her 5th grade students. She watched the video and was challenged by the fact that she can actually bring coding to her classroom - but the big question was- HOW? She researched a lot on her own and enrolled herself in an online Coding Academy. As soon as she had the basic know-hows, she immediately introduced coding to her students. According to her, it was one of the best decisions she has ever made. The impact coding had on her students was tremendously positive!
How does one introduce it to children? We know that Coding is creating a sequence of instructions to enable the computer to do something but when we introduce coding to elementary students, it is important that it is presented in the most basic way. One way to introduce coding is by doing a role playing activity with the students. The teacher takes on the role of a computer and the students will be the programmer. The goal is for the teacher to be able to draw a square on a chart paper based on the commands that students give. Through this activity, students will be able to figure out that computers don't actually think and it only does what the programmers tell them to do in a language that the computer understands (which we call codes) . They will also realize that computer language is different from human language - it is more specific and involves a lot of math!
When can one integrate coding? Anyone can be a coder. Coding can be taught to children as early as in kindergarten. It can be introduced and integrated into any lesson. Exposing kindergarteners to the basic logic of programming and giving them an opportunity to experiment with different ways of solving problems will equip them with skills they can build upon to become future webmakers, creators, and future designers of creative technologies.
What software can I use to teach coding in the early years? There are a lot of softwares and programs that can be used to teach coding. Here are some great links: