Guest Blog: Benefits of Teaching Kids To Code That No One Is Talking About

Written By: Michael Rosario, Inspired to Educate

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“In previous blog posts, we have discussed the necessity to encourage science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) especially in the United States. As our culture has become increasingly digital, we have coined this term of “digital natives” to describe the current generation of kids who grow up playing with IPads, cell phones and computers.

In conversations I have had with advocates of STEM education, some believe it’s important to get kids interested in learning about STEM topics before the 4th of 5th grade. Why? Around middle school, children start to form opinions about what is “cool” or “not cool.” Most kids put things like math, science and computer science into the “un-cool” category.

Mitch Resnick of the MIT media lab and his team of researchers have taken up the challenge of teaching kids to become fluent with technology. While we commonly call kids “digital natives,” Mitch challenges us to take students to the next level. Students should not be passive consumers of knowledge and entertainment. In Mr. Resnick’s view, digital natives should have the ability to make and create technology. In an increasingly digital world, he suggests that students should develop a basic fluency in computer programming and gain a sense of how software works.

I really admire the work he and his team have done on Scratch, a computer programming environment created for kids. It’s designed to be very fun and interactive. Using Scratch, students can create very dynamic interactive experiences and games by simply connecting puzzle pieces together. Many of these student experiences are not trivial to code using traditional programming tools. In the following TED talk, Mr. Resnick describes his passion for teaching kids to appreciate computer programming and how Scratch works.

 

I really appreciate that Scratch helps kids to have fun with math. Without a doubt, tools like Scratch are encouraging students to become creative. Creativity is such a precious skill that we need to promote to our students. With tools like Scratch, students are getting a fun introduction to design thinking and systems thinking.
Things don’t always work out well when you’re programming in Scratch or any other programming environment. You have to learn how to work through bugs and imperfections. Mr. Resnick suggests that students who use Scratch learn a sense of persistence. Since students engaged in getting their game or their creative project working, they naturally start asking questions, find answers, and learn to work through problems.

I love Mr. Resnick’s closing idea. Teaching kids to code is not about programming itself. It’s about promoting creativity, curiosity, teaching persistence, and giving young people a sense of how they can create technology. All of these fluencies are needed in our rapidly changing world.

Related Links:

Please visit the following links to learn more about Mitch Resnick and his research.   I have also included other links related to teaching computer programming to kids and teens.

“Inventors Workshop” series at the Museum of Aviation

In 2017, Check out the “Inventors Workshop” series at the Museum of Aviation.  We’ve designed these workshops to introduce young makers to engineering and tinkering with code, digital fabrication, and robotics.   Through making and tinkering, participants will learn S.T.E.A.M. (science, technology, engineering, art and math) skills using their hands, grow their creativity and become more curious about their world and test the limits of what is possible.

Learn more here.

A big thank you to Michael Rosario for this wonderful and educating blog.  To learn more about our Guest Blogger, Michael Rosario, you can visit his website here.

To view all upcoming events and workshops at the Museum of Aviation, click here!

2016 GA STEM Teacher of the Year

Congratulations

2016 STEM Teachers of the Year! 

Stacy Brown of Northside Elementary School in Houston County has been voted the Museum of Aviation 2016 GA STEM Teacher of the Year for Elementary School!

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Brian Soash of Lee County Middle School West Campus in Lee County has been voted the Museum of Aviation 2016 GA STEM Teacher of the Year for Middle School!

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A huge congratulations are in order for both of these wonderful teachers who have exemplified STEM learning in the classroom!  

Each winning teacher will receive a $1000 cash prize for themselves and a $1000 cash prize for their schools.  Ms. Brown and Mr. Soash will be recognized and presented their awards today during the Museum of Aviation’s GA NASA STEM Day Conference for Educators, hosted by the Museum’s own GA NASA Regional Educator Resource Center.

A very special thanks goes out to our amazing sponsors for making it possible for us to recognize teachers and educators who are prioritizing STEM learning.

More information and details about our Educator programs can be found on our website.

Where are you now?

The Museum of Aviation has seen thousands of students through the years during field trips, camps and workshops.  Our Education Center serves an average of 50,000 students each year.  We’d like to catch up with some of these students and hear their stories!

Were you one of those students? 

What is your career now? 

Did the Museum have an impact on your career choice?

If you were one of the many students who have participated in our Education Programs over the years, please email us and tell us your story.  We would like to feature you on a special blog article for our website, social media and more!  

Submit your story, and a photo if you’d like, to Valerie Myers in our Education Center at vgill@museumofaviation.org, between now and September 30, 2016.  

A huge THANK YOU goes out from us here at the Museum to all of you for your support through the years.  We look forward to catching up with you and hearing about your wonderful life!

 

Thank you for a Great Summer!!!

Each year the Museum of Aviation Foundation, Education Center hosts 6 weeks of hands-on, STEM summer camps.  This past year was one of our best yet!  The classes were full, the students were having a blast, STEM mentors from the community joined us, and all of the wonderful and amazing people voted us Best of the Best Summer Camps in Middle GA for the second year in a row!

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We can not say thank you enough for your awesome support of our programs.  We have great instructors and the most dedicated volunteers that all work together to give our students the best experiences possible.

Wonderful career mentors from the community take time from their days to spend with us and our students to offer real world applications.  

It’s because of you, all of our supporters, that we are here and able to continue providing quality educational programs for everyone.

Thank you all again so very much!  We look forward to seeing all the smiling faces back again next summer as well!

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Thank you to our June Donors!

Thank you to this month’s donors.  For more information on the corporations that help keep us going, just click on their link.

Robins Regional Chamber

Lockheed Martin Skunkworks

Planters First Bank

International City Optimist

TEGNA Foundation

Lockheed Martin Corporation

Middle Georgia RESA

McCullough Funeral Home

Lakota Solutions

 

Upcoming Museum & Education Special Events!!!

Education Events Registering Now:  

Pre K – 12th Grade Homeschool Workshops &

Pre K – 12th Grade STEM Labs

Auction Raffle Tickets are on sale!  See below for information!

July 23rd:  31st Annual Auction, Raffle, & Taste of Local Cuisine

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See below for a few of our Auction items.

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July 30:  Blackbird Day

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August 8th:  Monthly Homeschool Workshops Begin – Registering Now!!

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September 15th-16th:  Georgia Invitational Golf Tournament

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October 12th-14th: GA Kids’ STEM CampRegistering Now!

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