Three Ways to Launch Coding in the Classroom

15 Aug 2018

Three Ways to Launch Coding in the Classroom

The Digital Strategy for Schools plans to introduce coding to all primary schools by September 2019. This can seem like a daunting initiative for teachers. However, coding isn't something to fear but rather embrace in the classroom. It is an important skillset developing essential key skills such as creativity, critical thinking and problem solving as well as imparting the skill of coding itself. Which is becoming fundamental in the modern workplace. 

 Wriggle Jr. are here to help you make coding a seamless and fun reality in your school. Our Teacher Engagement Manager, Jamie, has detailed three essential tips to effectively introduce coding in the classroom. 

 

You don't have to be an expert 

I've talked with hundreds of teachers around introducing coding into the classroom. Their number one fear is that they don't know enough to teach it or that the student will know more than the teacher. First off, no one expects you to become a coding expert overnight. In fact, it's better to only know the basics. This way you can embrace newer methods of teaching like flipped learning. This allows the students to teach each other while you monitor and assess. Secondly teaching code can be made simple.

 

Make it about the skills not the code  

Don't focus on the code when creating lesson plans. Focus on the key skills that you want students to learn from these lessons. Whether that's creativity, critical thinking, collaboration or problem-solving, focusing on the skills give you something to work towards and assess after the lesson. As a big part of any coding lesson should be the 'unplugged activites', where students reflect on the skills they have learned. 

 

Take advantage of the free resources out there 

There are so many applications and resources out there to teach code. Introduce students to coding through the Swift Playgrounds app on iPad. Here they can complete Apple's ‘Hour of Code’ activity to learn simple commands, write functions and run loops. The immersive experience makes coding as fun as playing a game. Find out more on Apple's education site.

Another great resource we use to introduce teachers and students to coding is Minecraft: Education Edition. Students get to create their own world and explore subjects using Minecraft's virtual universe. Minecraft: Education Edition is fantastic for implementing a cross-curriculum or STEM approach to coding. The only limit is your imagination.

Finally, if you want to bring coding physically into the classroom there's nothing better than the Sphero Edu app and SPRK+. The SPRK+ is a fully programmable robotic ball, which you can programme using the Sphero Edu app. This is another fantastic tool to implement STEM learning in your school. The Sphero Edu app has a wealth of lesson plans for teachers to introduce coding in engaging ways. You can create fun lesson plans that let the students work in groups to figure how to create code. You can even combine the SPRK+ with Swift code from the Swift Playgrounds App.  



If you want to inspire teachers on how to introduce coding into your classroom in a fun way, contact sales@wrigglejr.ie