Giving Compass’ Take:
• Steven Fink explains the importance of empowering student voice to help create understand coding education.
• How can donors support students’ coding education?
There’s an outsized focus today on science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM (or STEAM if you prefer to include “arts”) and for good reason. Much evidence suggests our children’s careers, future industries, and our country’s prosperity will increasingly be shaped by these academic areas. So, why are the kids playing games?
Today, K-12 coding education offerings often include edutainment: some brand’s robotic-design, game-design and app-design program, packaged as engaging, entertaining experiences for students. After all, shouldn’t learning be fun?
Unfortunately, dragging and dropping is not coding, and don’t even think about taking on robotics until you’ve learned to code. Sure, some forms of edutainment are beneficial.
In 2002, I founded a summer coding camp, SummerTech, located on the campus of Purchase College, SUNY. For the first couple of years, I confess, we used edutainment programs. The kids had plenty of fun. For most of them, however, that wasn’t their real motivation; learning was, and we didn’t feel we were making much progress. They wanted to become real-life coders and they weren’t headed in that direction.
So, we found another, much more effective way. We turned to the kids themselves.
The takeaway: the coding apps and games weren’t a vital element of learning. Rather, it was the small-group conversations that were taking place. Kids, deeply engaged with just a few other kids, including a leader who wasn’t much older than them. True role models. It made the experience much more meaningful than any consumer program could.
Read the full article about centering kids as the master coders by Steven Fink at EdSurge.
Interested in learning more about Tech for Good? Other readers at Giving Compass found the following articles helpful for impact giving related to Tech for Good.
Looking for a way to get involved?
If you are interested in Ed System Reform, please see these relevant events, training, conferences or volunteering opportunities the Giving Compass team recommends.
Are you ready to give?
If you are looking for opportunities to take action and give money to Ed System Reform, here are some Giving Funds, Charitable Organizations and Projects aggregated by Giving Compass where you can take immediate action.