I’ve been coding between classes
A few years back I tried to retool my resume into something suitable for non-edu jobs. It was eyeopening process for me (along with interviewing for said positions). At this point, the only real keeper from the whole experience is an appreciation for the autonomy and creativity afforded to tech people in small schools, and a big table of “Tech Skills” that lives on my current edu resume.
I’ve been making an effort to live up to that list this year, rather than only pulling out a particular if I have a specific elective or club dedicated to it. As a result, I’ve been whipping up little Python projects to manage silly or repetitive tasks; you know, what scripting languages are for!
Helpfultechnology wrote a great post about why it’s a good idea for most people to understand the basics of programing, basically enough to participate in a conversation with a 2nd year CS student. It’s an argument I’ve made countless times over the years, especially when pushing for elective/club opportunities for 5th-10th graders. Now that I’m at a k-12, I’m finding there’s some reception for the idea that having pre-AP classes, building exposure and interest before the Grand Fun Killing Java Exam looms on the horizon.
Even without a goal of more kids pursuing Computer Science in HS or University, learning to code is a trans-formative act of vision, like seeing cells divide through a microscope, the Earth floating in space, a house erected from its foundation, or a souffle rise. (I’d actually put most honest cooking in there, but a good souffle is a structural miracle.) Huge, giant, ever-expanding swaths of our students’ world are composed of software that somebody write. Without some exposure to programing, we deprive them of the tools and experience to understand the basics of how those structures are made. Just as we don’t limit biology, physics, or poetry to students who will make those subjects their life’s work, the same has to be true for programing. Hell, maybe if we get more code into the early grades we can actually do something smart about changing math ed!
My increased work with Python has been an effort to push myself forward both as a learner and an example. A little app that auto-picks student groups saved me the trouble of finding slips and a hat, and it gave me something to share with my colleauges. Currently, I’m moving club signups from paper slips and tedious hours with Post-It notes to a GoogleForms + script that auto tallies every entry and makes a good “first pass” enrollment list. None of these are perfect bits of code, by any means. But they all help to raise the visibility of CS among my peers, and with the students. They all help our community realize that we are not powerless consumers when it comes to tech. We have all the tools necessary to do exactly what our school/division/class needs.
It’s not rocket science. It’s we built these machines to do.