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Do not stand still

Expose your students to at least some form of coding and robotics

Published April 15, 2019
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By Pam Scifers, Senior Inbound Marketing Manager and Coding Portfolio Manager
pscifers@pitsco.com

An old Chinese proverb states, “Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.” Every second that goes by, our world is changing and evolving on every front. In response to this, schools are being asked to solve problems and meet demands never posed before. From providing safety for students to preparing them for the fourth industrial revolution to teaching future-necessary social-emotional skills, the responsibility plate of our education system is not only full, it is overflowing.

And never mind the fact that all these added responsibilities only threaten to distract from the purpose for which education actually exists.

At Pitsco, we talk about the shifting environment nearly every day. We keep the 2030 workforce at the forefront of our focus to ensure we are equipping those young, curious minds and hearts with the knowledge and skills they need to adapt to an indescribable future. Pitsco has encountered a number of changes itself over the course of the past several years. We have become more learner centric and future focused, hence the development and deployment of our K-12 coding and robotics continuum. We recognize the challenges facing our young people are great, so we mustn’t stand still but be constantly innovating and looking for new ways to provide relevant learning experiences.

We believe coding and robotics represent an opportunity for teachers to engage their students and help them focus on learning while still preparing them to face the complications of the real world. Here’s why:

  • Coding and robotics give definition to an indescribable future: By 2030, 38 percent of jobs currently held by US workers will be automated. Employers don’t know exactly what skills they will require in the future, so they will look to hire professionals who are critical thinkers and can proactively find solutions to problems that will not be easily defined. Developing software and building hardware are great mechanisms to learn hands on how to apply logic.
  • They teach computational thinking to solve complex problems: Lines of codes might be the least important outcome of coding, just as an assembled bot is not the end of a robotics classroom activity. The more important output of coding and robotics are computational-thinking skills, whereby students learn how to logically break down a problem into smaller, solvable components; how to think steps ahead; and how to not only meet requirements but also optimize a solution so that it is efficient and of the highest quality. These are skills children will need in any career, in any hobby, and in everyday life.
  • They develop tech literacy for a generation that takes technology for granted: The Internet of EVERYTHING (as defined by Cisco) says that in 2030 there will be 500 billion connected devices in the world. Coding is basic literacy in the digital age. By learning how to write software and understanding what’s under the hood of these types of devices, children can develop an appreciation for how technology works – no matter how ubiquitous and sometimes inconspicuous that technology might be.
  • They coach social and emotional skills: As the trend of children being raised in part by technology and social media continues, children’s opportunities to read reactions and body language are diminishing. In the challenges, failures, and aha moments that happen during a coding or robotics project, group discussion, presentation, or activity are new and exciting opportunities for children to learn to manage their emotions, celebrate milestones, show empathy, build confidence, and deal with problems in healthy ways. There is no better way to build perseverance and resilience than working through bugs in the code and handling small circuitry parts!
  • They engage otherwise bored students: Code and robots in education help improve academic performance in a way that is engaging and active for learners. Students learn to visualize and then make abstract concepts concrete by applying them to real-world situations. By experimenting with coding and robotics, students also have fun opportunities to dream up programs and bots, thus embracing and strengthening their creative muscles.
  • Coding and robotics are agile and immediately engaging: Some teachers have already incorporated robotics solutions in the classroom, but the thought of learning the engineering design principles required to build a robot can seem like a time-intensive undertaking by most teachers. However, coding and robotics in education are something students (and teachers) can jump into and, within 5-10 minutes of starting an activity, see the outcome of their work. This is especially important when teachers have only one to two hours a day – or even a week – for technology in the classroom.
  • They help students create knowledge, not simply possess it: Contrary to the notion that we can open a child’s head and pour in knowledge, coding has the potential to shape children’s experiences so that they focus on acquiring and applying knowledge – not just possessing it. By enabling each child to individually make sense of the world, we save them from making futile attempts to stay ahead of the obsolescence curves of emerging technology.

So, whether your school is on the bleeding-edge of innovation or crawling toward the future, remember you can always make a difference by simply not standing still.

“I am proud to be working with Pitsco and absolutely love the support we’ve gotten from you all over the last year.”

– Joe Slifka, TAG member, technology teacher, LaBrae Local Schools, Leavittsburg, Ohio

We enable young learners to develop the mind-set, skill set, and tool set needed for future success.

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