Busting the Myth that Teachers Need Computer Programming Expertise to Teach it

Busting the Myth that Teachers Need Computer Programming Expertise to Teach it

This article was written by Brian and originally appeared on the LearnBoost blog. LearnBoost makes software for teachers and schools allowing them to save time and money.

Why computer programming goes untaught

Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Teachers are no different. Yet most elementary teachers are responsible for teaching all subjects – reading, writing, math, science and social studies – even if they aren’t particularly confident in it. A 5th grade teacher who doesn’t excel in math is required to teach it all the same.

However, material that isn’t a part of the core curriculum, like computer programming, is at the discretion of the teacher. If he or she doesn’t feel confident teaching the subject, it is skipped in favor of using that class time another way. Unfortunately this results in computer programming going largely untaught in elementary school despite the tremendous benefits it can provide students.
A new kind of subject

A new kind of subject

Can you imagine a subject that lends itself to each student exploring and creating on their own? Rather than the teacher setting the pace of learning, each student would be able to move at their own pace. As new discoveries are made by students they would be able to share with each other what they accomplished and how they did it. Students would be empowered and shown they are in direct control of their education. This may sound too good to be true, but with the advancement in today’s tools, this can now be computer programming in elementary school.
The right tools and mindset

The right tools and mindset

Scratch is a drag-and-drop programming environment created by the MIT Media Lab specifically for encouraging young students to experiment and learn on their own. It has seen tremendous adoption all over the world with 2.5 million projects created and added to the Scratch website. Students can explore the website to discover what others have made and even download the projects to learn how it was done. They can also collaborate with people they have never met – downloading their project and remixing it with their own twist.

If computer programming with Scratch is approached as a collaborative learning experience, with the teacher learning at the same time, then they don’t have to be an expert. Students will enjoy making discoveries on their own and becoming “the expert” on a specific feature. It will encourage creativity in a way that isn’t even equaled in art class. The myth that the teacher must be the expert has been officially busted!

Posted by Brian Skinner / Posted on 11 May
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