Can Everyone Code?: Preparing Teachers to Teach Computer Languages as a Literacy

Can Everyone Code?: Preparing Teachers to Teach Computer Languages as a Literacy

Laquana Cooke, Jordan Schugar, Heather Schugar, Christian Penny, Hayley Bruning
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0000-2.ch009
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The learn-to-code movement is no longer just supported in computer science classrooms; instead, coding instruction has proliferated widely throughout the kindergarten through 12th-grade levels. Yet, educators are just beginning to understand the complexities with teaching students to code. In this research, the authors posit that coding is a language that can be taught through a literacy-based lens. In this chapter, the authors share findings from a study that examined pre-service teachers' aptitudes, interests, and background knowledge for teaching Swift to elementary school students. In addition, the authors explain how teachers were able to transfer what they learned about coding in Swift Playgrounds to a similar task on a different platform. The chapter ends with examples of how primary-grade teachers employed aspects of literacy instruction to teach basic coding using a variety of applications and tools.
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On September 12, 1962, then President John F. Kennedy stated while speaking to about 35,000 people at Rice University, “We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained and new rights to be won, and they must be won for the progress of all people” (n.p). While the propaganda associated with this speech has been debated widely, undoubtedly these words helped spawn an entire generation of engineers, scientists, mathematicians and computer scientists in the global pursuit to put humans on the moon. The impact of this agenda dynamically changed our way of life and the tendrils of this movement generated massive changes in education, pop culture, sciences, literature, economics, business and manufacturing. Creativity blossomed, science and technology boomed, and soon a whole generation of problem-solvers were able to send multiple individuals to the moon and back with computing power lower than what is contained in a modern-day smartphone.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Mobile Pedagogy: Using mobile technologies for teaching and learning.

Coding: A basic language-type of scripting used to communicate with computers.

Computational Thinking: An algorithmic, problem-solving mind frame.

Programming: Historically situated within the computer science discipline indicating the communication between humans and machines.

Function: A named set of commands that make codes more efficient.

Pre-Service Teacher: A teacher attending a college or university in order to earn their initial teaching certification through both university and field-based experiences.

Swift Playgrounds: An Apple app used for teaching coding and a precursor to Swift, a programming language.

Loop: A block of code that is repeated either (1) a certain amount of times or (2) until a defined condition is met.

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