In a perfect world, all teachers would not only have the desire to be instructionally creative but also the freedom to do so. Academic excellence would not be based on test scores but on the backs of students excitedly learning and basking in the glow of the learning process. In a perfect world, there would be no “genius hour” nor would there be an “hour of code” because students would explore their interest at will and computer science would be embedded as early as kids were learning sight words. Also…these opportunities would be accessible to every child…EVERY.SINGLE.ONE.
If the world were perfect…
But it’s not…
Technically, my job is to help teachers integrate technology. I’m supposed to be an expert of the tech. The perception of most is that all I know is tech…until we sit down to talk and then like clockwork, I watch the eyes of the other party bug out because clearly…I’m about much more than tech.
I want to see kids learn in interesting ways and I don’t believe that technology is always a part of that. I don’t view tech as a “product” that kids must do in order to “show learning”. At the same token, I think that it should be accessible because for some…the tech is how they learn and I’m good with that.
Yesterday, I posted a series of tweets about “Hour of code” and as a result, my timeline pretty much imploded with digs about corporate initiatives taking over educational curriculum and how this was a bad one for kids because, “people have been coding with kids long before hour of code”. Apparently saying that “before ‘hour of code’, schools were not universally talking about it”, is a bad thing…even if it is true…from my lens, anyway.
I am a mother and aunt who is watching her kids being “tested to comatose state”, with zero access to technology. For years, I have watched and worked with teachers who have had creative freedom but refuse to take advantage of it. I’ve also worked in schools where teachers have no choice but to follow the framework in front of them. I fight these things with all of my might everyday and anyone that thinks otherwise should spend a weekend on my blog before questioning my dedication to those marginalized voices.
With that said…as much as I too despise “universal initiatives”, I also believe wholeheartedly in exposure to the existence of opportunities and for me, coding is one of those…just like “genius”. Maybe seeing how kids bury themselves into the excitement of learning will open the eyes of a reluctant teacher, principal, superintendent or school board member.
Maybe…just maybe, a kid will rush home completely inspired to not just play the games on his/her game system but create them. Maybe that one hour sparks much more than most kids or adults knew was possible.
The fact is that for many teachers, this “universal initiative to code”, is their first stab at any ideas related to coding. Whether we choose to admit it or not, this need was born because we’ve created a system where we wait until HS to teach these skills because that is when “we” decided that kids were ready. Maybe this “universal initiative” can spark conversations to change that.
Of course, what do I know?