Today within my Digital Technologies class I was introduced to Coding for the first time, during this time we focused directly on Scratch Jr. I became aware very quickly that coding is an important aspect within children’s learning as it can broaden knowledge and enable very beneficial lessons within a range of different areas, such as Literacy. The benefits of coding that I am now aware of have allowed me to recognise how important powerful is, therefore when I am planning lessons in future I will ensure I often use interactive games such as Scratch Jr.
There are many different benefits Coding has within the classroom, such as how it enables children to problem solve. This would help them in all aspects of life and education, this showing that Coding should not just be used for Technology lessons. Coding also allows children to communicate effectively, this is because they can convey their own ideas and stories. As children gain design and creativity skills through coding, they would have the experience and be able to design projects. Not only does coding allow skills to be developed and shown within school, but it also leads children to successful jobs “Gaming companies want more programmers. The government wants more high-tech start-ups. Manufacturers want trainees who can design embedded systems.” (Naughton, 2011, p2) These benefits show exactly how important coding is within society today. Scratch Jr is the coding programme that I focused on, which enables children aged five years and over to create their own interactive story. Scratch Jr has a wide range of different backgrounds, animals, people and objects that can be placed on slides. All of these different things can be made to move, sing, speak etc. The Lead Project (2014) back up the previously stated benefits mentioned as it is stated how Scratch Jr allows children to “think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively – essential skills for success and happiness in today’s world.”
I would love to deliver my Scratch Jr activity during a Literacy lesson to children in the future as I feel as though they would think about the previous text within it, and from this be able to continue the story. I would start this lesson by introducing them to the text, which is based on animals, their friends and where they live. On the end slide instead of introducing another animal I wrote “Where do you think my friends live?” – this would allow children to continue the story, whilst demonstrating their writing skills. It would also highlight that they have read the story accurately if they are able to keep it flowing like the previous slides, and also not repeat a slide on an animal that has already been discussed. I think this lesson would be best aimed at children in Primary 2, and before they continue the story I would create a mind-map with them about where different animals live, this allowing them to think about what they are going to write before starting. The interactive story I created is based around this Curriculum for Excellence outcome – ‘I explore and experiment with the features and functions of computer technology and I can use what I learn to support and enhance my learning in different contexts’ TCH 1-04a / TCH 2-04a. This specific Technology outcome highlights that the activity I created not only develops knowledge within technology, but also literacy. Another outcome which focuses on this is – ‘Using what I know about the features of different types of texts, I can find, select, sort and use information for a specific purpose’ LIT 1-14a. I feel as though this Literacy outcome fits in perfectly with the Scratch Jr activity I created as the story gives the information and ideas that is needed to be able to be able to finish it.
I am grateful that this module is allowing me to develop my knowledge in areas such as Coding, because otherwise I would have not been confident in teaching a lesson based around Scratch Jr or any other coding programme. Teachers who are not confident in Coding often need to be trained (Curtis, 2003), therefore I believe my knowledge will have a positive effect on the children I am teaching. Overall, I learned a lot today, as previously I would have just associated coding with technology lessons, however it fits into many different curricular subjects.
Curtis, S. (2013) Teaching our children to code: a quiet revolution. [Moodle Resource] Available: Digital Technologies module on Moodle. [Accessed 30 January 2018]
Naughton, N. (2012) Why all our kids should be taught how to code. [Moodle Resource] Available: Digital Technologies module on Moodle. [Accessed 30 January 2018]
The Lead Project (2014) Super Scratch Programming Adventure: Learn to Program by Making Cool Games! No Starch Press.