Coding as a Conduit for Science and Math



In forty years or so, when three-quarters of the world economy is directly tied to computers and programming (and high technologies such as biotech and nanotech, which depend heavily on them), it will be hard for people looking back to understand why, as late as the 2020s, only a small, demographically skewed minority of students was learning to code.


Why is coding not a required course in the US?


This is often blamed on a lack of qualified CS teachers, but at Blackbird we take a different approach. With our software, any teacher can teach students to solve problems in science or math using coding. Teachers don't need extensive training: a short training before they get started is enough.


Using this approach, students do not need to sign up for an elective class in coding. Until now, coding education has been heavily skewed demographically because students don’t learn it unless they ask for the opportunity. Less confident students are likely to feel like it’s out of reach. Many never have the chance to become interested.


With Coding as a Conduit, coding becomes normalized as an ordinary part of school. In each unit, students are guided to use basic coding techniques for problem solving. Any STEM class is likely to have a coding unit in the fall term, and another in the spring, so over time the techniques become familiar, and students don’t question whether they can code. Of course they can: They’ve been doing it since middle school.


In later grades, they can also learn the basics of data manipulation using SQL and statistics.


In this way, coding and data skills become another basic literacy, integrated into the fabric of daily life and effectively preparing students for life in the information age.


This doesn't mean that coding electives are less important. With coding better integrated into school as a whole, those electives are likely to become both more relevant and more equitable. Once students understand that coding is accessible to them, many more students of various backgrounds will take an interest.


Would your district like to collaborate in developing Coding as a Conduit? We’re looking for teachers to help test and provide feedback. Contact sarah@blackbirdcode.com for more information.