Saturday, August 16, 2014

Tissue Paper Reforms: Coding for Kindergartners | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice

Tissue Paper Reforms: Coding for Kindergartners | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:



Tissue Paper Reforms: Coding for Kindergartners

Some school reforms are like rebar that have lasted for more than a century. Examples? The age-graded school and the kindergarten.
Some school reforms are like industrial-strength plastic-covered packages which cover new toys, computer cables and gifts. After the plastic sheath is pried open, it can be recycled and appears later as fabrics, fencing, and benches. Examples?  The New Math, New Science, New Social Studies of the 1960s and 1970s lasting for a decade or so then are recycled years later to reappear later as the New New Math, etc. ,etc.
Some school reforms are like tissue paper that, after one or two uses, shreds and is tossed away. Examples?  Coding for kindergartners.
'We     ... In class today.'
Why is coding for kindergarteners neither rebar nor unbreakable plastic but flimsy tissue paper?
Coding as a Tissue Paper Reform
Teaching young children to code (which may or may not be learning to program) reminds me of how Logo–an earlier tissue paper innovation–became nearly extinct in less than a decade except beyond a few schools where childrencontinued to program using Logo-derived languages. Instructional reforms like Logo then and coding now for young children–to switch metaphors–are like those boutique shops that move in and out of malls.
Why is coding now, a way of implementing a program language like Logo then, a tissue-paper reform?
The reasons are instructive to current enthusiasts for coding:
1. While the overall national context now clearly favors technological expertise, Tissue Paper Reforms: Coding for Kindergartners | Larry Cuban on School Reform and Classroom Practice:

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