I enjoyed watching Mitch Resnick's Ted talk very much. As someone who just started learning about unplugged coding this year and is new to coding, I liked how he broke down the importance of coding and all that he said made so much sense. I loved the example of his mother making a card using Scratch after receiving the cards he sent her from others on Scratch. "If you can learn to code, you can code to learn" means that coding opens up a world of endless possibilities. Coding is a great tool for facilitating student learning in all subject areas and other areas such as reasoning and creativity.Coding helps people to learn many different things and can be used in so many ways.
Mitch Resnick’s Ted Talk presentation clearly lays out how important it is for everyone from child to adulthood to be connected or be in relationship with the material they are learning. His parallels to learning to read but not write supports the statement, learning to code and coding to learn. What is the point to just interact with technology without needing to create as well. It also emphasizes the need to become more and more fluent in order to write code. This is a process of accumulated skills and competencies over time. For younger learners, it begins with creating opportunities to interact with the physical world such as what we nurture in our K inquiry based programs. There is the need for the learning to be meaningful and motivating so the learner has the opportunity to learn more deeply. When you get to this deep learning, where you continue to scaffold new learning, this is when “you are coding to learn.” I am motivated to get to this place.
This Ted Talk should be required viewing for all teachers. It clearly shows the importance and relevance to learn coding. Unfortunately, in our profession, we don't need skills in coding to do our jobs so we may underestimate the role it plays in the lives of so many other people. I may consider adding his statement to a wall in my library along with the parallel reference to reading.
In the last few years the report card has changed with the learning skills moving to the front of the report. It was done for a reason to show how important these skills are to the growth of a student. I think the overall and future success of a student is better gauged by the learning skills than the subject marks. Coding provides an avenue for students to develop their learning skills for future tasks. As Mitch Resnick commented, he doesn't see all people who learn to code as future computer scientists. But there are valuable skills like collaboration and perseverance that they will learn or be judged on.
I also liked how he shows the learning opportunities that exist when people learn to code. I may use his idea for greeting cards with my students as a different media than paper and crayons. I also love how his mother is learning to code at her age. My hope for myself as a teacher is to continue to learn and try new things in the classroom right up to the time I retire.
"If you can learn to code, you can code to learn"
What impressed me most about this quote and the talk was the order of learning that happens in coding--first there is the purpose, and then there are the steps to get there. This makes all of the steps relevant and meaningful. There are parallels between this idea and the idea of backwards planning in which the learning goals become the driving force for unit and lesson planning. When learning is purpose-driven, it is naturally meaningful and relevant to the learner.
I think this is especially important in the higher grades where the process and the purpose (aside from the superficial ones of completing the course and getting decent marks) are not always evident.
I also like his analogy of reading and writing. The ability to create and share stories and games with peers can be a great motivator that encourages students to use technology in an active and productive way rather than purely in a consumer role. These skills are transferable not only as programming skills, but also in planning, communicating and problem solving in general.
I appreciated when Mitch pointed out that even though so many people are comfortable with using new technologies to browse, chat, game etc., this doesn't necessarily make them fluent with their use. It was powerful to compare using technologies and not being able to create/express with them to being able to read and not write. We always say in school that we read to write and write to read. Being able to do both definitely opens up so many opportunities. Fluency allows expressions of ideas to happen. It is especially important for the learning to be meaningful, as in the example of the youngster who wanted to keep score in his game. He had a need, acquired the necessary skill and was able to apply this skill in an authentic way.
When Mitch was explaining all of the skills that were gained in learning about the process of design, I couldn't help but reflect on all of the building projects my students were involved with this year. Even though many of them may not become engineers or architects, the skills they acquired will serve them well in whatever they choose to do in life! Same goes for coding.
The statement 'If you can learn to code, you can code to learn' highlights and brings together many ideas for me -- and poses lots of questions, too! First, I thought the parallels Mitch Resnick drew between reading, writing and coding were important. Just as we recognize that learning to read and write encompasses so much more than being able to understand the printed word, I think we're beginning to understand that learning to code and create in a digital world might be a similar key that unlocks opportunities for today's students.
I also appreciate the distinction he drew between being able to use and interact with technology and being able to create and change it. The whole concept of agency and being able to act on your environment in meaningful ways is key. Instead of passive consumers who understand how to turn on the computer, check email and use their cellphones, Resnick places people learning to code as creators, which is pretty cool. As Christy mentioned, that whole concept of being in relationship to the material, or being in an open to learning, inquiry stance, is critical.
I have to say, I always forget how much I love TEDTalks -- when you watch someone really into what they do, their enthusiasm is contagious
Mitch provided an excellent analogy with reading and writing, comparing the importance of coding to those subject areas. Being fluent in reading does not necessarily mean they are in writing. Writing like coding, emphasizes individual creativity an important skill to develop for success. Being a junior/ intermediate teacher as well as having a teenage and preteen daughters I see children using technology for all different purposes (phones). Yes children have experiences with this new technology but are they really fluent with its uses? Mitch talks about the importance of learning to code, and coding to learn through his examples of the use of scratch. His example of Victor, a child who learned to code a game to keep score, he learned to code but he also learned many other skills. I had to chuckle when Mitch commented on “how many times do students thank teachers for teaching them variables.” Learning to code opens new opportunities, allows the coders to learn in a deep meaningful context that makes sense to them. When coding they learn the process of design thinking. They learn to experiment, collaborate, fix bugs and persevere. All skills essential to develop character in any individual. I do believe that this video is essential for all teachers to watch to understand and appreciate the value of coding.
I have to say that this quote, on many levels, makes sense. If you can understand the complexity of coding, then you likely can use coding to learn various things. It is not, however, totally transferable or as easy as Mitch makes it sound with his quote. Not everyone can transfer knowledge or take knowledge out of one context and apply it in another. As a special education teacher, I see this challenge in my students all the time. Just because you can read and write, as Mitch points out, does not mean you will become a writer.
I do think Scratch is a wonderful program, and i do plan to play around with it over the summer so that I can try it with my students next year. In part because I think they will find it engaging and in part because I know how important it is for my students with special educational needs to be exposed to, and learn, this type of technology.