Teacher Tech blog with Alice Keeler

Paperless Is Not a Pedagogy

Alice Keeler

Kids Start Coding Their Vocab

Coding Vocab Words with Google Apps Script
Kids Start Coding Their Vocab

Coding Vocab Words

Shamelessly, I bribed my 8-year-old daughter to learn JavaScript. I’ve shown her a couple of things with Google Apps Script (which uses JavaScript). Imagine how delighted I was when a week later she comes home and exclaims “I am teaching my class how to code.” First, major kudos to her teacher who when seeing how excited my daughter was about coding set her up as a station leader to run a coding station. He does not know how to code but is letting student passions influence what the class does, and he is creating leaders. I love that.

Coding Vocabulary Words

Having students code their vocabulary words is a task for students to get started with coding Google Apps Script. Provided below is a Google Slides presentation to use at a professional development session to help teachers get started with this activity. Speaking points are provided in the speaker notes.

Click Here to link to the Google Slides.

Click Here to download PDF of Slides with speaker notes.

Do It A Lot

Whatever tech you choose to use with students, use it a lot. Have them practice coding Google Docs with text strings and variables frequently on assignments. Add additional methods (codes) a little at a time. “How can we use this method?” Click Here for a list of methods that work with .getBody();

1 thought on “Kids Start Coding Their Vocab

  1. The idea of starting to teach kids coding at younger ages is a great ambition. Coding can be a really fun and fulfilling challenge for many people; it could even potentially be thought of as a game. M.P. Jacob Habgood and Shaaron E. Ainsworth studied the benefits of using games as educational mediums, especially through intrinsic learning. They defined games as an “interactive challenge.” Also, “clear goals, achievable challenges, and accurate feedback are all required to achieve a state of flow in an activity” which translates into learning. This idea of a game can be directly translated to the idea of coding. In coding, kids are manipulating their work and challenging their minds to work through puzzles. There are clear goals to achieve the final output of the coding, whatever that end result may be. Coding can be an engaging new activity to learn for kids, and while they are learning these really useful skills, they can also be learning their vocabulary or other requirements.

    Games can be intrinsically motivating to students. When material is presented through a medium that is engaging and enjoyable, kids are often more likely to learn it more successfully. When the material is part of the experience of the game, or coding for example, it becomes part of the fun or part of the challenge. Kids can learn the material intrinsically while completing the coding. In their study, Habgood and Ainsworth found that when children learned through the intrinsic condition of the game, their scores on the subsequent performance test improved the most over the other studied groups. While games are not only more enjoyable for kids to learn material, they are also beneficial and successful at teaching material. While not exactly the same, this idea could be translated to coding. While learning coding, kids can gain a new skill and also intrinsically learn material they are already required to learn. Your idea of teaching kids coding is good for more than one reason.

    Article: Habgood, M. P. Jacob and Ainsworth, Shaaron E.(2011) ‘Motivating Children to Learn Effectively: Exploring the Value of Intrinsic Integration in Educational Games’, Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20: 2, 169 — 206, doi: 10.1080/10508406.2010.508029, First posted on: 11 January 2011 (iFirst)

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