I am a teacher and teacher educator, convinced that coding will be integral to the future of education. In order for teachers to be effective they will have to be comfortable in this area. Thus, I recently decided I must learn something about it myself. I wonder: How hard is it…really? How can it be fun and exciting for teachers? I hope to find out!
- I don’t really care what I learn to code…I just want to learn to code something!
- You are invited to become my teacher. (I’m writing a blog about something that I know next to nothing about. If I say something that you know is wrong, please tell me! I’m all about crowdsourcing good information.)
Who am I?
My name is Lauren, and I am a teacher.
I am passionate about working with very young children…infants and toddlers in particular, but I have some preschool experience thrown in for good measure. I am also passionate about educating and coaching other teachers. I have recently become convinced that the children who are babies today will need to know something about coding in their future lives and careers. Because of this, teachers will need to know something about coding to be able to support the types of thinking that it requires. I also know that most teachers (myself included) are terrified of the notion. I recently decided that I would learn how to code, which is something that I NEVER thought I would do. I will use this blog to document my journey…successes, struggles, breakthroughs and breakdowns. If I can do it, anyone can do it, so here’s hoping!
At a glance:
- I grew up in Illinois, but have lived in Colorado for 15 years.
- I have worked in education for 18 years, and teacher education in various capacities for the past 9.
- I have a BA in Psychology, MA in Education Psychology, and a Colorado Teaching Certificate.
- I am currently a Teacher Educator and Mentor in the Boulder Journey School Teacher Education Program, affiliated with the University of Colorado Denver and Colorado Department of Education.
- I am a certified Instructor and Coach for the Expanding Quality for Infants and Toddlers Initiative, affiliated with the Colorado Department of Education.
- I love learning, and have dabbled in lots of different areas during my professional career in addition to classroom teaching and teacher education…information design, creative and academic writing, marketing, public and media relations, pedagogical support, community outreach, community organizing…
- In addition to working with children, families and teachers, I like making stuff, the color orange, playing with spiders and other creepy-crawlies, practicing yoga, cooking, and skiing fast!
If you are curious to learn more about me, visit my full disclosure post!
What is this all about?
I’m primarily writing this blog to record my own journey with coding, and to give myself an outlet to process all the crazy new thinking I’m doing. I do have some bigger picture intentions, and will use these to frame the types of posts I’ll be writing, so here’s just a quick list:
- I want to document the changes that I go through…changes in thinking, changes in understanding, and changes in attitude. If I can understand my own change, I might be able to explain to others how they can find the intrinsic motivation necessary to make these types of changes.
- I also want to offer an understanding to those of you who might already be comfortable with coding and programming. I think there is a pretty big gap between tech industry-types and teachers. So many components of our worlds are different, and it’s hard to culturally relate to each other. If we can figure out and communicate what it takes people like teachers to think more like programmers, and people like programmers to think more like teachers, then can we start a more relatable dialogue. I’m not saying I’m the person who can figure out how to make this happen, but I can start thinking about it and try to find others who want to think about it with me.
- I want to network with other like-minded educators who may want to go down this road but are afraid. I’m afraid! …but I’m committed. Want to join me in commitment to the unknown?
- Coding seems really hard to me, as it probably does to many people and many teachers. I want to see how hard it really is. Further, my definition of “hard” is probably different than your definition of “hard”…how can my “hard” be complimented by your “easy”, and vice versa. How can we learn from each other?
- Finally, I’m interested in this phenomenon that happens with a lot of teachers who have fear of math and math-related endeavors (which I think coding probably is). I grew up thinking I was bad at math. Many of us did! In fact, it’s something that many of us feel completely comfortable and even proud saying to pretty much anyone! When we think about a teacher proudly proclaiming “I’m a terrible reader!”, it don’t seem acceptable. We’d probably think less of this person. So why is it acceptable with math and not acceptable with reading? This is a question all teachers need to examine. Further, I don’t believe that all these people are just inherently bad at math. I think there are some fundamental flaws to how math is taught. I myself started to understand math concepts in a much deeper way when I started working with preschoolers, and had to design hands-on opportunities for them to learn math. I think the problem is that so many teachers think they are bad at math, so they don’t seek to innovate and come up with interesting ways to teach and learn math. They don’t try to get better at math themselves, because it’s so culturally acceptable to be bad at it. Teachers need to be interested in math, engaged in math, and talking about math in positive ways with their students, and there has been research showing that all students really need to succeed is teachers who say things like “math is fun!”, or “I like math!”. If teachers are into it, the students get into it, and that’s the first step. SO…if we are so culturally comfortable being afraid of math, coding doesn’t stand a chance! While teachers accept that math is important, many don’t even want to engage in a conversation about coding…but I really believe that we are going to need to start incorporate coding into schools, and so what will it take for teachers to be able to say things like “coding is fun!” (and mean it)? I’d like to find out.
What am I nervous about?
A LOT! I have a lot of insecurities around the notion of actually learning to code, so I figured the best thing to do would be to just list them here:
- I’m committed to documenting my journey, and I really think this site will be a great tool. I’m super apprehensive about “blogging”, though. I love writing, but most of my experience is in academic writing. I often have the control to write 10 drafts if I want, and edit and edit and edit. Blogging is a lot faster, and I know that I have to let go of my perfectionist streak. I will be working on my ability to pump out fast, concise, and well-written pieces. I will not be perfect at it, though, so please don’t judge me too harshly for editing issues! Do, however, feel free to let me know if you see editing issues or don’t understand what I’m trying to say so I can try to write it better.
- In terms of formal and technical information about coding, I know that a lot of what I’m going to put on this site is going to be wrong! My understanding of coding is just that…my understanding…and it will evolve. I’m trying to write about things that I don’t know a lot about, so I’ll inevitably go back and edit when I figure out something I say is inaccurate, but please help me! If you read something that lacks a proper understanding of terms or theory around coding, tell me! This whole project is about learning, so I invite you to be a teacher!