Coding Across the Curriculum: How to Integrate Coding Into Content Areas

Coding Across the Curriculum: How to Integrate Coding Into Content Areas

Janna Jackson Kellinger (University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1461-0.ch012

Abstract

This chapter explores why teacher educators should teach teachers how to integrate coding across content areas and how to do so by applying concepts of computational thinking such as using algorithms, flowcharts, and Boolean logic to all fields. Teaching teachers how to teach coding across the content areas offers opportunities to diversify people in a field where intimidation, discrimination, and lack of opportunities has effectively kept the field of programming largely white or Asian and male. In addition, as our lives become more and more infused with technology, Rushkoff warns that we either learn how to program or become programmed. This means that not everyone needs to become a computer programmer, but everyone needs to understand how programming computers works. In other words, coding across content areas would help prepare all students, not just those pursuing the field of computer science, for the 21st century.
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Teachers As Coders

By expanding coding to a set of decision-making directions, we can also see how teachers are natural coders. In fact, they write code every day in their lesson plans. They then are the computers that implement this code, sometimes even changing it up on the spot. Because they are coding humans, or rather creating conditions for humans to learn optimally, you could argue that their coding is even more complicated than coding a computer. Larry Cuban (2001) has lamented about teachers being reluctant to dip a toe into digital technologies. However, introducing coding to teachers in this way and then demonstrating options for ways in which they can integrate coding into their content areas uses Lee’s (2001) cultural modeling to allow teachers to see the connections between coding, teaching, and their subject area.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Computational Thinking: A way of approaching problems and situations using logical skills often employed in computer programming.

Looping: In coding, any pattern that repeats itself.

Boolean Logic: Boolean logic uses operators such as AND, OR, and NOT to define certain conditions to determine if something is true or false.

Algorithm: A sequence of steps that produce a result.

Conditional Statements: Conditional statements determine what subsequent actions should take place depending on whether or not a condition is true or false often by using an IF/THEN/ELSE structure.

Variables: Variables are placeholders for data.

Inheritance: An object in object-oriented programming can be classified as a type of a class and thus “inherit” the features of that class.

Object-Oriented Programming (OOP): Any computer program that defines objects and their relationships to other objects.

Functions: Functions are segments of code that are given a label so that label can be used to execute that segment of code without having to rewrite the code. Functions often use variables so that function can be applied to more than one situation.

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