Computer coding is becoming a curriculum staple in elementary schools across the country, as schools take advantage of technology company support for preparing students for real life in the 21st century. By joining a national trend, students and their teachers are learning coding and programming together
Coding was once considered an extracurricular activity for geeks, but now it is increasingly being seen as an essential skill and a pathway toward career and entrepreneurial success. Teachers are interested in giving their students every opportunity to become the next Mark Zuckerburg.
“The coding craze is the biggest uptick in education in years,” said Elliot Soloway, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan. “What we’re seeing is a new content area being incorporated into the curriculum at lightning speed, faster than any other content area has been assimilated into teaching. Schools are desperate for the new, and coding’s not just any new; it’s one that has currency.“
Since December, 1 million students have enrolled in an online computer science course offered by Code.org, a nonprofit founded by Harvard graduate Hadi Partovi and backed by Facebook’s Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s Bill Gates. The group recently announced partnerships with 30 school districts, including Andover, Arlington, Ashland, Brookline, Littleton, Milton, Needham, Newton, Reading, Waltham, Wayland and Wellesley.
Newton Public Schools is using Code.org to help teach the foundational skills for coding in grade 2 and build on that in middle school, said Leo Brehm, the district’s director of information technology