Beyond Coding: How Children Learn Human Values Through Programming

MIT. Mar. 2022. 232p. ISBN 9780262543323. pap. $25. ED
Many people espouse the view that learning how to code will ensure career success; Bers (child studies and human development, Tufts Univ.) takes a refreshingly different tack, arguing that learning how to code is a new kind of literacy, one that prepares young people to think critically, solve problems, communicate effectively, and play well with others—even if they don’t go into a tech-related profession. The programming languages that she has developed for younger children are intended to strengthen character, develop coding skills, and foster computational thinking. For each of the ideas that she explores in this book—the coding playground; coding as another language; coding as a colorful palette of virtues; coding as a bridge—she provides compelling examples from teacher and learner perspectives and powerful insights into how teachers can integrate values and virtues into teaching. Likening learning how to code to the stages of learning to read, Bers uses these phases to craft developmentally appropriate curricula, to pace and sequence learning activities, and to assess mastery. The book is filled with original ideas, apt metaphors, and international perspectives, as well as suggestions for further reading and useful resources (curricular units; positive technological development tools; assessments).
VERDICT Fascinating reading for educators and educational researchers working in a variety of settings.
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