For the second year, my library classes–yes, even the first graders, are learning computer programming by using code.org. WHY? Because kids of all ages and languages can speak it (like math, coding is a universal language) and “Computer science drives innovation throughout the US economy, but it remains marginalized throughout K-12 education.” According to the code.org website, “Only 33 states allow students to count computer science courses toward high school graduation. There are currently 517,393 open computing jobs nationwide. Last year, only 42,969 computer science students graduated into the workforce.”
That’s a big gap!! Washington state is one of only FIVE states which dedicates funding to computer science. Right now, there are 26,000 computer science jobs in our state, and 1100 graduates to fill them. As I told my students, if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t avoid classes and activities that weren’t “right brain” activities, which I was comfortable learning–those which dealt with drawing and painting and writing. I’d learn to love and find my place in math and science, because I’ve always felt that so much of the world was closed to me by not having skills in these vast and important fields.
Hour of Code is a global movement. Find out why in this darling and motivating video below.
When you work at a school library, you are constantly working to keep students engaged: in reading, in education-based software games, effective search engines, platforms and apps. We are savvy enough, as modern library information technology specialists, to be happy with ANY attention or foot traffic, and it behooves us to be up with all the cultural trends.
There hasn’t been a more universally loved or enjoyed trend as Pokémon Go in a VERY long time. I love it because my now 16-year-old-son who used to LOVE playing and collecting Pokémon ten years ago, now loves this modern upgrade. I have noticed most of the people obsessed with the game are intrigued in part by the nostalgia. And parents, happy their children are disconnected from PS4 and XBox are echoing a sentiment something like “Well, at least they’re getting outside!!”
What has put libraries in the forefront of Pokémon Go is that community gathering places, like libraries, are programmed to be “Gyms” for Pokemon battles. They often have a high concentration of more valuable Pokémon as well as upgrades and other tools (Like “razz berries,” Which help capture the more powerful, slippery Pokemon.)
Here’s some examples of tweets sent by bookstores which are, not surprisingly, totally cool with any publicity and traffic:
Get your restock of Pokeballs at the Strand! 🎉 Your favorite literary #PokeStop destination. Plus, you never know what pokemon might be hiding in the stacks. 👀 #PokemonGo#GottaCatchEmAll
If we are in the patrons’ worlds at the time, they will remember! If you are gracious and enthusiastic, they will remember when it is time to hang out, or when the Pokémon Go servers are down (which has happened often) maybe they are more likely to come and check out a book with us! Also read the LA Times article below, it’s just the best!
A tech expert/future trend guy was being interviewed (on CNN’s GPS with Fareed Zakaria, to be exact) and said that 65% of jobs that children will have in the future DON’T EXIST YET and that learning how to do computer coding will qualify them for these jobs. It stuck with me. It is with this context in mind that the students at both Colbert and Midway embarked on learning how to create command patterns for the adorable non-gender, non-species specific FINCH ROBOTS. They worked in teams “professionally taking turns” with different challenges; like programming the finch to turn in different directions, turn different colors, etc. Next level will be commanding it to talk.
For the full skinny on the Finch, which was developed by Computer Science (CREATE program) students at Carnegie Mellon University, see their website:
“Coding describes a wide range of behaviors in which we solve a problem by writing procedural steps for a person, computer, or machine to follow.”
~ Chad Sansing
Sansing’s quote is from an article of the urgency of teaching what is commonly being referred to as the “language oft he future” For people who have any job in technology, this has been a language for a very long time.
But for Mead elementary students (all the LITS are offering “Hour of Code” programming this week –in honor and participation of International–Computer Science Week) it’s a time to program a game they love to play: Minecraft.
My friend Joy made this pictogram: I like it. Whenever I made a pictochart/pictogram it looks like my crowded scrapbook pages (when I had time to scrapbook) Anyway, the kids love it, and nearly everyone experienced success and engagement and none of this means I prefer coding to READING, you dig? There’s a place for everything in the library, though!