STEM & Coding have gained popularity in today’s classroom. In fact, there’s been a dramatic increase in coding and STEM education in the education industry over the past few years. As the popularity of STEM and Coding has grown, so has the invention of educational toys, websites, apps, games, and robots. MDR publishd an article written by Lindsay Walker, Co-Founder of Launch Code After School, recently on this very topic. Walker’s article discusses how educators and parents alike are trying to figure out which games, websites, apps, etc. are worth the money versus which ones could be taught another way.

“Good teachers and parents already know how to create purposeful activities that expand the horizons of a child’s world and make playtime purposeful. Parents want to know how to distinguish between what is worth the price tag, and what products are using those hot marketing buzzwords to drive interest in their product. There is no question that the need for computer science and technology skills is skyrocketing, and that now is the time to teach kids to code.” – Lindsay Walker

In Walker’s article, she offers a guide on how to create the right tools for the next generation. Her article elaborates on each of the following:

  • Develop a Comprehensive Curriculum- A good coding product:
    • Has a full scope of lessons.
    • Brings in and builds on more complex coding concepts as it progresses.
    • Has the ability to meet learners at different ages and levels.
    • Provides a guide for what concepts are covered with a scope from beginning to end so that educators can plan around the concepts being taught.
  • CS Concepts and Coding Languages-
    • A good platform for coding allows students to create classes and methods that can be used to build a modular, object-oriented program.
    • A good foundation and understanding of the principles of a programming language means that the skills can be transferred to use with almost any other language.
  • Classroom Applicability- Some questions that need to be considered are:
    • Is it easy and seamless to sign in and get kids signed up for the app?
    • Does it have good UX that makes it easy for the students to figure out how to use it, or will the teacher have to devote several lessons on training the class?
    • Can the work be shared easily between students and teachers, outside of the app?
    • Does it require that teachers re-make their entire lesson in that format, or can it be used to upgrade and enhance an already existing curriculum?
  • Creating Tools to Educate All Learning Styles- A good coding product:
    • Provides multiple ways for students to think and represent their understanding.
    • Addresses the different learning styles of students and keeps things from getting stale.
    • Has a mix of videos, written tutorials, games, puzzles, worksheets, online questions and quizzes, and projects that allow students to apply and challenge their newfound skills.
    • Gives educators the flexibility to pick and choose tasks that are relevant and applicable.

To read Walker’s article in full, click here.