Friday, June 7, 2013
Is Coding an Extension of Writing?
As we consider the impact technology has had on our lives, the new generation thinking around universal design across architecture and learning, we must consider Mitchel Resnick’s thoughts on coding. We know there are many students and adults with print related disabilities which may include language based challenges, physical challenges and sensory based barriers. Composing one’s thoughts can take on many forms and for the most part, society has realized that print and typical written word is just one mode to convey ideas. Could coding also be seen as a form of composing one’s ideas? Mitchel Resnick proposes this and I agree. In his article Learn To Code, Code To Learn, he discusses the success students and others have had using code to support creative endeavors. He includes a number of helpful resources as well. Writing code is another form of sharing ideas, conveying thoughts and being creative. We want to harness higher order skills, potential vocations and develops talents. Learning to write code and including this as part of typical education seems more than appropriate. The Scratch Software which he refers to was developed in the MIT Media Lab which has been mentioned on this blog before. They have more recently released a new version 2.0 with some updated features. As pointed out in the article and the media release, many people have a limited view on what coding is. It can be much more and is a very unique for of composition. The considerable benefits of approaching coding in this manner are enormous and only limited by your own creativity. Can you imagine all that students could do? This has the potential to open doors for people who may find engagement with traditional print filled with barriers or less engaging. This is certainly not a substitute for literacy but it another avenue to support literacy in a unique manner which can enhance long term outcomes for our students.
Coding links directly to discussion around universal design. It is another learning and access method which should become a part of what we do and teach to all students and adult learners. The Newly Released Universal Design Studio by CAST is another free tool you can access to support your learning projects and collaborative content creation. There are examples of projects for you to take a look at.
It continues to amaze me how much high quality free tools are out there to help us support students in a manner which will potentially engage them for life!