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3 Tools to Bring Coding into your STEM Curriculum

by Jonathan Epstein on 01/30/17 10:49:00 am

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

So what are some of the soft skills students pick up in an coding curriculum? Learning to program steeps kids in a hands-on problem solving environment that requires equal parts persistence and logical thinking. It encourages taking risks and trying new things—and in a programming environment where lots of frustrating hours don’t have to be spent debugging (something that drives my caffeine consumption). Once their project is done, it’s in a format for all to see. If your kids made games it’s a great opportunity to let them play (or rather show-off) their creations all while getting the chance to communicate what they did and how they did it. Explanations that you won’t need to draw out.

While you probably don’t have a classroom full of future computer scientists, the fundamentals of programming offer the practical and intellectual foundation for not just STEM but virtually any career trajectory. Plus, few things bring out a child’s curiosity like making their first game.

We all know the values of STEM. They’re the driving force behind innovation and job creation. But technical preparation hasn’t yet caught up with the demands of STEM fields. K-12 education needs to kick start a student’s appreciation, and ultimately ability, to thrive in tech. Unfortunately, learning STEM has not always been met with too much enthusiasm. So let’s teach it earlier, and teach it in a format that kids know and love to make the fundamentals of coding second nature.

Kids want to make the apps their lives revolve around, and want to get their devices to do what they want. It’s a fun, engaging experience with some very cool end-results to show off, especially when designing their own game. But a coding curriculum provides more than just a neat experience. It provides soft skills that translate to any path your students might choose.

Fortunately, even if you’re not bursting with computational skills, you can tap into a number of resources to give your curriculum a coding boost. Here are three great programming tools:

With these 3 tools, you’ll have the know-how to bring the fundamentals of coding to your students. From there, whether they have their sights set on becoming the next Zuckerberg or something a bit more modest, knowing the basics of computer science will prepare any student for their career of choice.


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