Conversation is abuzz as educators discuss what the future workforce will look like. It’s estimated that the jobs that will exist in 2030 have not even been invented yet. So what can school districts do today to prepare our students for the tech careers that lay in wait?
Marcos Navas, Technology Facilitator at Union City Public School in New Jersey, recommended equipping our students for success by teaching them to code. In his webinar, Developing Future-ready Students through Coding, Navas explored how coding encourages engagement, promotes interactivity, and helps develop the skills students need to land and succeed in the jobs of tomorrow.
Navas opened his presentation relaying the sobering fact that our current educational system was created during the Industrial Revolution to prepare youth for mundane factory jobs. That era is over. According to Navas, students today thrive on problem solving, interactivity, and authentic learning experiences. So, classrooms must be as engaging, interactive, and dynamic as all the competing stimuli in students’ lives.
“Putting technology in students’ hands is not enough to engage today’s digital learners in a meaningful way,” said Navas. Student engagement models differ, but research and practical experience tell us that high levels of student engagement occur when the following opportunities are present:
- Using well planned, memorable lessons that incorporate experience
- Encouraging more collaboration and interactions with peers
- Incorporating relevant, problem-based teaching and learning
- Offering routine access to varied digital tools and devices
To prepare students for the careers of tomorrow, Navas suggested educators specifically explore coding to deepen technology skills development for creating future-ready students on which the world will rely.
Developing the Coder Mindset
Navas is a proponent of students developing a ‘Coder Mindset.’ Coder Mindset theory is very much aligned to the theory of Growth Mindset—the belief that intelligence can be developed. This mindset celebrates and creates a love of learning and continual work on craft. Because of its problem-solving nature, coding requires a similar mentality to be successful. A negative mindset deterred by errors cannot solve problems efficiently. Navas outlined ways the Coder Mindset helps define goals teachers can set for students:
- Uses errors to find solutions
- Uses the internet effectively
- Ability to execute strategies for learning about unknown phenomena
- Knows how to learn
Why Teach Coding?
In a future that will rely heavily on robots, innovation, and technology, Navas asked, “Why not begin preparing our students for that new world?” Knowing this innovation is coming, he suggested educators prepare students for a future with coding. Coding allows learners to go from being users and consumers to becoming creators and producers in the digital world. Prepare today’s students for those roles of tomorrow by encouraging them to make their own videos, their own digital discoveries, and their own code.
Integrate Coding into Your Curriculum
To get coding in your classroom, Navas recommended exploring a number of online resources to integrate coding into their existing core curriculum. For Navas, Learning.com’s Coding and Computational Thinking solution, EasyCode Foundations and EasyCode Pillars, are excellent resources for his students to begin building their coding skills with engaging coding challenges. He also encourages teachers to explore other tools, applications, sites, and “unplugged activities” that support getting students coding.
To learn more about Marcos Navas’ ideas on developing future-ready students with coding, watch the full webinar recording here.