Thursday, July 4, 2013

Something Exciting

There is something exciting in the air these days. It's difficult to avoid the media coverage of how programming is the "new literacy". Both adults and children are being offered all kinds of introductions to programming and coding and there doesn't seem to be any slowing down to the new websites, programs, methodologies, and philosophies, about the best way to be involved.

Whatever pedagogical path you may subscribe to, the fact of the matter is there are very few things we do these days that don't involve 1's and 0's. If we want to be makers we must also understand the physical characteristics of the project we are making.

This fall there are 20 public schools in the New York Department of Education whose students will be involved in just this kind of making. The Software Engineering Program is piloting a curriculum that will effect 10 middle schools and 10 high schools and allow for students in these schools to take a class that affirms the importance of the problem solving and computational thinking skills that are at the core of a programming and making curriculum.

The curriculum will cover Programming, Robotics, Web Development, Embedded Electronics, e-Textiles, and Mobile Computing. This is not a class that meets once a week, the schools who applied and were accepted to this program must offer this class to any student who wishes to take it, and meet at least 4 to 5 periods a week. This is the real deal.

I am excited for the possibilities that this kind of program can open up for students. In my own classes I have witnessed the excitement and empowerment when students start moving the turtle around the screen by entering the "language of turtles" into the keyboard. I am excited that I am a part of this program and I have an opportunity to bring this excitement and empowerment to other children in New York City. 

For more information about this program here is the official press release made in February by the NYCDOE and Mayor Bloomberg.