Coding: Making better learners

Coding: Making better learners

Coding: Making better learners

There are lots of reasons why teaching coding to kids is crucially important today, but after this workshop I realized how it can make them better people, or, at least, better learners.


During the third day of the “Shaping the Future lll” conference, I had the privilege of moderating a Turtle Lab coding workshop for 5th-grade students from a local school, led by Walter Bender. These are some important things I learned:

The only rule – “There’s only one rule,” Walter said at the beginning. “If you make something cool – you must share it with everyone.” When you learn how to code you make amazing things each second, but don’t forget who inspired you to make them and keep inspiring others.

With creativity comes responsibility – One hour into the workshop, Walter showed the students how to make the drawing turtle follow the mouse movement. “You just created your own Photoshop! Now you’re responsible for making it cooler every moment.” Being creative and productive is not just showing off your creation. It’s a commitment.

Yes you can – In the middle of the workshop, Walter asked the students to fill two whiteboards: one with things they already know, and the other with things they want to learn. While most of the students focused on improving the basic skills they’d just acquired, Walter encouraged them to think big and write down even “impossible” things on the board, because coding enables you to do anything you can dream of.

Hard fun – For most of the kids, it was the very first time they were writing code, and while most of them enjoyed the exploration of this new world, some of them were struggling, asking us for help every moment, and always getting the same answer: “Coding is fun, but it’s hard fun.” It should be easy enough to engage you, but hard enough to challenge you.

So what did we have? Kids learning, working hard, believing in themselves, taking responsibility and sharing – everything we want education to be.

This story and more are part of our special EdTech Mindset magazine, dedicated to the Shaping The Future 3 events we held in June 2015. Read the complete magazine here.