One of the sessions I attended today at SXSWEDU was “Ready to Code: Libraries Supporting CS Education.” I was really interested in learning more about this because the little bit of CS ed I’ve done in my libraries has always felt like just a small taste of something that could really nourish our students as learners.
The presenters (a mix of librarians and coders and a program manager at Google) shared with us several projects that were funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ “Ready to Code” initiative. The projects included:
–Cubetto (coding without a screen)
–CompuGirls (culturally responsive computational thinking programs)
This is the second time that Cubetto has come up in one of my sessions, so it’s clearly time to check it out.
They also shared the many reasons that libraries and coding go so well together: libraries are among our most trusted institutions for learning and providing CS education to all communities is a matter of equity, libraries work in communities to help everyone learn, and coding develops critical thinking skills, which all our students need.
Going hand in hand with that, the Ready to Code concepts are:
- Providing and creating inclusive learning environments
- Connecting to youth interests and emphasizing youth voice
- Engaging with communities
- Engaging with families
- Demonstrating impact through outcomes
I really appreciated the way the presenters explained this initiative, and coding in libraries more generally, as a matter of social justice.
One other take away that I have from this session is that I’d like to pursue my own PD around CS education and coding. I’m a self-taught coder and in many cases I learn along with the kids. I’d like to purse some more formal coding training so I feel more confident about implementing a more comprehensive program or approach in my library.