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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Whether you're a technophobe or a geeked-out early adopter, there's no denying that the world is run on computers, and the language of computers is code. It seems only natural that there's a wave of interest in the idea of teaching kids to code -- some say it should be a requirement in every school. I think no one would argue that every kid is cut out to be a programmer, but a basic understanding of code couldn't hurt. In fact, this knowledge could give a leg up in an increasingly technology-centric society. Hopefully this playlist of videos will help you learn more about some of the people and organizations who are working to change the opportunities available for kids to learn code.

Video Playlist: Teaching Kids to Code

Watch the player below to see the whole playlist, or view it on YouTube.

 

  1. What Most Schools Don't Teach (05:44)

    This video by Code.org went viral a year ago. Though the picture painted of working in tech is a little overly rosy, it's fun to see luminaries from Bill Gates to Will.i.am talk about the value of computer programming.

  2. Kimberly Empowers A New Crop Of Coders (02:26)

    I featured a video about Black Girls Code just a few weeks ago in my Girls and STEM playlist, but I'll do it again because this is an amazing organization. This video produced by AmEx gives a nice overview and a bit of founder Kimberly Bryant's backstory.

  3. Is Code the Most Important Language in the World? (05:34)

    Off Book from PBS Digital Studios takes us on a philosophical journey to explore the value of code as a language, whether it's reasonable to expect everyone to learn to code, and issues around diversity in the tech workforce.

  4. Young Coder Finds Like Minds at Oakland Hackathon (02:35)

    The Hidden Genius Project is like Black Girls Code's brother organization. This lovely profile of a young man who finds his passion through their hackathons is a great example of how the playing field is changing for kids.

  5. CNET News - "Hour of Code" to Teach Kids to Program (03:11)

    During the Hour of Code event last December, 33 million people pledged to participate by spending an hour learning and writing code. You can find great resources at the Computer Science Education Week website.

  6. Inspiring Young Men of Color to be Tech Leaders (02:52)

    I just had to include one more great example of a small organization working to increase diversity in the tech field and opening opportunities for kids of color -- check out URBAN Teens eXploring Technology (URBAN TxT).

  7. Introducing Thinkspace (03:19)

    Three teenagers in the UK came up with the idea for Thinkspace, built the first one, and started a nonprofit, all in the service of making cool spaces for kids to learn to build apps.

More Resources on Teaching Coding

Ready to jump in to play with some code in your own classroom? Start with these two popular Edutopia blogs, "15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code (Even Without a Computer)," by Vicki Davis, and "7 Apps for Teaching Children Coding Skills," by Anna Adam. After that, there are a variety of organizations that provide resources, free online curriculum, and tutorials to get you started. I've listed just a few of them below, along with some articles that explore the how and why of teaching kids to code -- but feel free to share additional ones in the comments below. Time to get hacking!

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