Developing computational thinking, ICT skills and digital literacy starts already during primary grades in the education curriculum in many countries. This in turn means that all teachers, no matter which subject they teach, should be able to teach their subject in conjunction with coding and technology.
Effective coding education requires changes in teacher training
Coding can be combined with other subjects in learner-centric projects that provide students with real-life, meaningful learning opportunities to build CT and 21st century skills. One of the approaches often used is project-based learning (PBL) approach has been recognized as a creative and effective way to learn coding by both teachers and students alike.
Applying PBL in classroom demands a fundamental change in the role of teacher: from a subject matter expert to a facilitator role. How well teachers manage this change dependes on many factors, including teacher qualities and skills, training they receive and general acceptance of the changed role by society – school administrators, parents and students. Also, the teacher’s own ideas, values and attitudes affect how fast and thoroughly they are able to embrace this change. Therefore, teachers’ professional development programs must take into consideration affecting the perceptions and attitudes of teachers.
Teaching confidence growth achieved through a change in perception
Code School Finland helps educators to include coding, robotics and AI into their school curricula. Consequently, we train and guide teachers all over the world in using project-based learning methods for coding instruction. For teachers who are not familiar or experienced with the PBL model, we start our training programs with our pedagogy course 21st Century Coding Pedagogy that prepares teachers for applying the teaching model in coding instruction (more details of the course here).
A recent case study on teachers’ perceptions before and after taking the 21st Century Coding Pedagogy online course shows that participants’ confidence levels about teaching coding increased. Their perceived rating of their own knowledge of coding content, such as language syntax and coding environments, increased or significantly increased for 75% of the participants. What is notable is that the course itself does not include any coding content, so in reality, participants’ coding content knowledge could not increase at all. Therefore, it was the participants perception of their content knowledge that changed.
The participants gained confidence in teaching coding and their belief in their own coding content knowledge level increased. They felt better equipped to teach coding, although they did not get any additional training on coding content knowledge.
How fantastic is that?
The success factors may include the “learning-by-doing” approach of the online course with in-built digital self-reflection, as based on previous research and Code School Finland’s pedagogical expertise in the field.
The case study was carried out in relation to my studies at the Oulu University of Applied Sciences for the Master’s degree in Education Entrepreneurship. The full thesis work is available by emailing me at [email protected] and when published, found also in the Theseus database.