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I love using principalaim to highlight an educational perspective that I share or that I am wrestling with. Today’s “Read This Now!” features an insightful TED Talk from Mitch Resnick of the MIT Media Lab. The basis of Resnick’s 2012 TED Talk is simple: he believes “coding isn’t just for computer whizzes” and (more importantly) the “skills people gain as they learn to code are transferable.” As I listened to Resnick’s talk, this statement resonated with me because it is imperative that we find ways to teach skills that can be used in every area of a student’s life.
Resnick’s TED Talk also got my attention when he questioned whether “young people’s exposure to new technology truly means they are fluent in new technology.” Resnick believes young people’s “comfort level and familiarity with browsing, chatting, texting, and gaming does not mean they are fluent.” This statement was like music to my ears because I want to use my students’ interest in new technology to help them do more than simply “interact” with a friend via text message. If we are going to change curriculum in order to make technology an integral part of what we teach, I want to make sure students are using technology that moves them from passive to active use.
Why is learning to code a good idea? It is a good idea because learning to code is one more way that we can “provide opportunities for learning.” Ultimately, for me, this is not a push to just teach coding. What it is, however, is a push to look for lots of opportunities to help students learn “to collaborate,” “to be persistent,” and “to persevere “ when life gets tough. If tapping into a student’s love of coding helps accomplish this goal then I believe that is a win for us. Resnick seems to understand we have to utilize the resources that we have to inspire and motivate young people. I say let’s take advantage of coding and any other new technology out there to provide additional opportunities for students to learn. tlb