As a teacher, we all have a specific goal. My goal going into education was to impact the next generation in a positive way. Unfortunately, I did not realize when I entered my first year of teaching that I was not prepared to make the impact I wanted to.
We are facing a modern world with technology developments we had no idea would be happening. Just like the advancement of technology, there has also been a great deal of change faced by the modern workforce. Using tools like ChatGPT is now a normal part of the work day and AI is part of effectiveness and improvement meetings across most companies.
Our students have to be prepared for this technology-driven work environment. Without these foundational skills, we are facing an entire generation of students graduating from high school without any of the workforce skills they will need to be successful in their future careers no matter what career path they are choosing to take.
I taught middle schoolers and high schoolers who had learning differences and struggled with the core subject content given to them. I volunteered to start teaching a coding class based on Scratch to give them the logic and computational skills that many of them had never even been exposed to. I was never given any computer science classes and only took 1 required technology class in college that dabbled in HTML. My computer science skills had to be self-taught and guided through experiences I was given working at Rex. None of the middle school teachers were qualified or confident in knowledge related to coding, but we all saw how important it was.
Many of the students who struggled through their English and math classes thrived in the coding class. They were extremely passionate about project creation and expressing their creativity.
After this class, I realized that coding is not just essential for workforce success for students, but it also opens the door to many of our students who struggle through the traditional curriculum.
Not teaching coding or technology skills in elementary school and middle school is allowing students to slip through the cracks as they lack passion and enthusiasm for the typical content area curriculum.
As a teacher who stepped up when the opportunity was given to me, I know many other teachers are facing the same challenges I did. You want to teach your students, but we are not taught the skills you need to give to them. This makes educators rely heavily on the curriculum available through whatever means possible. I spent many weeks Frankensteining code.org, CsFirst, and youtube videos I was able to find on Scratch to do the best I could. None of these sources were what I needed for my students.
Coming to Rex K-12, I now see a complete solution being delivered to students to help educators succeed in the classroom without computer science knowledge. We have a solution to help close the gaps for many of our students and meet this next generation where they are.
written by Caitlin Webb
Curriculum Director – Rex K-12
Former – K-12 Educator