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Coding and pedagogy for the future

Coding skills have been defined as a new literacy in our modern world. Many countries have introduced coding and algorithmic thinking in their curricula, which makes coding education available to all students. How to combine coding and pedagogy?

CodeSchool Finland_kids coding

Internet is full of coding courses

The importance of coding competencies is reflected by the huge amount of available online materials for 21st century skills. Anyone can learn how to code by utilising widely available – and often free – resources online. Millions of people are using online courses and environments for acquiring new coding skills. The biggest challenge is often to decide which platform to use.

Where are the courses on the pedagogy of coding?

Much fewer online courses are offered on how to teach coding effectively. Best coding pedagogy combines algorithmic thinking and creative problem-solving in a way that is optimal for motivation and learning results.

Best programmers are not necessarily the best coding teachers – and vice versa, the
best teachers do not have to be the best programmers.

High quality teacher training is needed to equip teachers with pedagogical skills to unleash the coding potential of all of their students. Teaching coding should be based on meaningful learning that combines projects, phenomena and peer learning. Teachers and tutors can be trained in these pedagogical models through online training,
which creates both opportunities and challenges for professional development.

A balance between technology, content and pedagogy

An often used scientific framework for integrating coding with everyday education is the TPACK model described below. It identifies three types of knowledge teachers need to combine for successful integration of coding in their instruction:

Content knowledge: Teachers need to understand the essentials of coding.
Technological knowledge: Teachers need to know how computers and robots work.
Pedagogical knowledge: Last but not least, teachers need to know how to effectively use teaching methods that maximise student learning and engagement.

TPACK model for teaching coding
Harris, Judi & Koehler, Matthew & Mishra, Punya. (2009). What Is Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge?. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education.

Are you interested in reading more? Find the full research paper here.

Coding pedagogy course for teachers

It’s vital that teacher professional development programs for coding education not only concentrate on content and technology knowledge but prepare teachers for applying the teaching model in coding instruction.

The online course 21st Century Coding Pedagogy addresses the Pedagogical knowledge aspect. It aims at presenting a teaching approach that maximizes student learning and engagement through collaboration and creativity. More importantly, the online course expects the participating teachers to practice as they preach: maximizing the teacher’s own learning and engagement as well.

High quality coding education expects a balance between technology, content, and pedagogy. Each is equally important and a purposeful blending of them is essential. That’s the successful recipe for teaching for the future.

Dr. Juuso Nieminen

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