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May 13, 2013

Teaching Kids Programming in Utah Schools


Teaching Kids Programming

Last week, Pluralsight launched a new program which aims to encourage children to take an interest in computer programming, while also inspiring teachers and parents to make integrating it into school curriculums a priority. Part of our program’s goal is to prove that anyone can introduce programming to their children, and that you don’t have to be a computer genius or a full-time programmer to do so. In fact, teaching children coding basics is approachable and fun, and can be a great exercise for the entire family.

We worked with six schools in Utah, with over 160 students in grade levels ranging from fourth through twelfth: Jordan High in Sandy, Central Davis Jr. High in Layton, Mount Ogden Jr. High in Ogden, Mountain Green Elementary in Morgan, Kaysville Elementary in Kaysville, and West High in Salt Lake City. Each three-hour workshop was led by Pluralsight authors, Lynn Langit and Llewellyn Falco. Using the teaching framework they developed for their Pluralsight course, and not-for-profit, Teaching Kids Programming, Lynn and Llewellyn introduced the students to C# basics, and Microsoft Visual Studio. Within the first few minutes, students created their first executables, and by the end of the workshops, students had created simple, playable computer games. The workshops are purposely designed to resemble art classes, which allow the children to stay engaged by creating something tangible.

Teaching Kids Programming

By providing these workshops, we hope to motivate teachers and parents to push for these types of opportunities in schools. Today, programming courses are rarely found in schools in the United States, and those found in high schools are typically advanced placement courses available to only a small percentage of students.

“Our kids deserve the opportunity to be exposed to this important world, just as much as they deserve to be exposed to other fundamental skills and foreign languages. Just a 2-3 hour introduction gives them enough exposure to open up an entirely new world and incredible possibilities for the future.” – Aaron Skonnard, CEO of Pluralsight

For those who would like to introduce their children to programming at home, we’ve made Teaching Kids Programming with C# available for free in our library, as well as our other kid-focused courses, How to Program with Scratch and Learning to Build Apps with App Inventor. Computer programming isn’t just for children who dream of becoming full-time developers. In an increasingly digital world, teaching children to code will arm them with the skills necessary to succeed in the future.

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