PowerUp WHAT WORKS: Tech Tip

Teach Your Students to Code!

Teaching students how to code early on will prepare them to be proficient in the next generation's "critical literacy" of computing.

Learning to code or coding to learn?

The movement behind teaching kids to code is growing. Already, there exist countless free resources online, aimed at making coding fun for kids. For example, Khan Academy recently introduced coding as a core subject, emphasizing the now popular phrase, an hour of code. In today's world, we expect information to be more than static words or images on a page. We want to interact with and even create information. Learning to code is a great way for children to participate as active agents in their learning, and is fundamentally a creative learning process.

How can students use coding to learn other subjects?

Coding has obvious applications in mathematics –students can learn important skills identified in the Common Core State Standards– representation, reasoning and communication. Because the process is often collaborative, it can be a great way to incorporate interacting with peers around solving a problem. The process of testing, de-bugging, and problem solving a program can also encourage students to use precise language in their mathematics learning. Beyond building your students’ math skills, working with common computer coding programs can be a great way to incorporate more Universal Design for Learning principles into your instruction. Use a program like MIT’s Scratch to help your students create their own unique ways of representing information or telling a story. Have your students plan, draft, and revise a narrative that they then turn into a video game!

Use coding to support and expand evidence-based instructional strategies!

If you're just getting started with coding yourself, check out some of the free guides to using coding in the classroom. Once you have the basics down, remember to integrate evidence-based instructional strategies which can be supported by, or enhanced, by coding, such as the ones from PowerUp WHAT WORKS. For example, once your students have mastered some of the basics of coding, they will have a deeper understanding of how to use and create their own virtual manipulatives for math!

Resources on Teaching Code

This Tackk was created by PowerUp WHAT WORKS, a federally-funded project focused on helping teachers use technology tools and evidence-based practices to meet the needs of students with disabilities. Looking for teaching strategies, professional learning opportunities and practical ideas for your classroom? Visit us at PowerUp!