This post is sponsored by Leadership Prep School.
Curriculum experts agree that adding coding to school curriculum is essential. In just a few years, there will be over one million unfilled jobs that required a knowledge of coding. Many people acknowledge coding as one of the liberal arts since it requires a combination of analytical skills, problem-solving skills, and creativity.
Some sources encourage schools to teach coding not as an end in itself, but as an important tool in the curriculum arsenal. Jane Bird noted the following in the Financial Times:
Programming can be used to tell stories as part of creative writing in English, to devise solutions to environmental problems in geography, and to create presentations or role-playing games in personal, social, health and economic education. Some see it as being similar to learning to write in a particular form, such as iambic pentameter.
Cutting Edge Curriculum Right Here in Frisco
Although many U.S. schools are lagging behind the wave of coding incorporation, Frisco residents have a fantastic computer immersion school located just down the street.
Leadership Prep School (LPS), a charter school in Frisco, introduces coding into the curriculum as early as kindergarten.
In addition to weaving coding throughout all courses and grade levels, LPS has also set out to become a resource for the Frisco community to encourage that all children take a more active interest in coding.
While not all children will become programmers, some subject-matter experts argue that they should learn to understand what makes computers work and try to solve problems as a computer might. Kids are consumers of software but don’t typically understand how it works.
LPS Students Participate in Mini-Hackathon with iCode
On Saturday, May 19 of this year, around 70 students spent their Saturday at LPS working in teams to solve a challenge presented at the iCode West Frisco mini-hackathon powered by Microsoft.
A panel of well-respected judges evaluated and scored the teams’ projects to determine how well each one met the objectives of the project as well as the creativity, complexity, and functionality of each project.
The top three teams in each category (elementary and secondary) formally presented their projects in front of the other contestants and their parents, event sponsors and all five judges. The judges ranked the top three teams, and each member of the teams received a tech-related prize, such as a Kindle. Leadership Prep School Superintendent, Stacy Alton shared,
The hackathon was designed for students to use critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills to solve real-life challenges.
When we began conversations with iCode about this event, the idea of a hackathon seemed like a natural fit, given our model using computer immersion and project-based learning. We were also excited about the opportunity to use our new building to give-back to the Frisco community that has been so supportive of Leadership Prep School and our students.
Elementary students were given the challenge of creating a storyboard using programming language to demonstrate various ways to help animals, while secondary students were given the challenge of creating a maze game.
LPS makes sure that students share in its mission to give back to the community. A number of LPS students raised funds to purchase parts to build computers.
Collin County Commissioner Susan Fletcher and Frisco City Councilmember John Keating provided students with $1000 in matching funds for the project. After building the computers the students donated the completed computers to the non-profit Computers for the Blind.
Coding knowledge may be a necessity of the future, but while many schools are still struggling to navigate the early waters of programming curriculum, a school like Leadership Preparatory School that combines coding class, compassion, and community involvement, is a rare gem indeed.