By Tanner Higgin, Common Sense Education
It’s clear coding and computer science have become key priorities in K-12 education. From Code.org’s massive round of funding and the formulation of the Computer Science Coalition to President Obama’s Computer Science For All initiative to big school districts, like the San Francisco Unified School District, building K-12 computer science curriculum – there’s indications that this is more than a passing fad.
Many educators are excited about the opportunities coding and computer science offer students, but with these new curricular priorities come the major practical, pedagogical challenges of building a scope and sequence and then transforming it into units and lessons (not to mention, you know, teaching). Given the problems computer science has had meeting the needs of all students -- especially early on -- there’s some tough challenges ahead for school leaders and educators to make sure computer science for all doesn’t fall flat.
If we just focus on the coding part of the equation (computer science is its own set of challenges), there’s some good news. Learning designers have been hard at work cracking three of the biggest make or break challenges facing learn to code initiatives: hooking kids (especially girls) early, crossing the chasm between drag-and-drop and written code, and providing interest-driven projects that fuel learning outside school.
Below I’ve highlighted some great coding apps and websites already out there that tackle these three big challenges in inventive ways, providing opportunities for learners of all ages and backgrounds opportunities to dabble then dive-in to coding.