Which skills can your students strengthen while learning how to code in your STEM class? Which abilities can they develop while receiving knowledge on how to program their very own virtual robots? And most importantly, which abilities are key for them to truly succeed in tomorrow’s world?
Many times in the past we have talked about the deep relation between coding, robotics, STEM and the delivery and strengthening of the ultimate 21st-century skills, but there is one subject we haven’t deeply touched, and we’d like to do so today: Resilience.
In a world that moves so fast, where everything is “automatic”, it becomes harder every day for teachers, educators, and parents to help kids and students build up and enhance their ability to be resilient. We would like to show you how coding and robotics can help you, as an educator, boost this ability in your students… and it will come in a more natural way than you think.
Being resilient will be fundamental when assuring your students’ success in the upcoming future, and when defining who is going to lead tomorrow’s innovation processes. It is not enough with knowing how to code, receiving first place in the last cyber robotics coding competitions, or being a master in STEM; Resilience is too, the key to your students’ achievements.
As educators, we know how important it is to be persistent, patient, resilient and a doer. Therefore, we should find different methodologies, curricula, and pieces of content that we can add to our classroom plan in order to make sure our students will be like this in the near future.
There are several fields taught at school that have to make students resilient as their main goal, and their structures are built to achieve that goal, but there are other fields that believe it or not, can still turn your students into resilient and efficient human beings, while they attain and accomplish a number of other 21st century skills. Coding is one of them.
How can coding make kids resilient you might be asking yourself? Well, the process of learning how to code will make your students apply more than just algorithmic thinking skills and computational thinking abilities while learning how to code your students will be learning much, much more. Let us explain.
The literal definition of resilience is “(Resilience is) the ability to mentally or emotionally cope with a crisis or to return to pre-crisis status quickly. Resilience exists when the person uses “mental processes and behaviors in promoting personal assets and protecting self from the potential negative effects of stressors”. In coding, they can practice it and strengthen it in many different ways, here you have 3.
When learning how to code, or how to program a robot in CoderZ, your students will have to try their code out many times. As you know, a number of these times, the code they work will just not work, or a certain specific algorithm will not do whatever they wanted it to do. Turning your classroom into a safe space where your students can learn coding, hands-on, by looking at mistakes as a simple learning experience, they will slowly become more resilient.
Just for you to understand it better, the concept of trial-and-error learning connotes attempts at meeting the situation in various ways until the correct responses are found in an “accidental way”. This learning system that should be ideally used when your students learn how to code or to program a robot, includes random reactions and accidental success. Just like in real life, trial and error are one of the ultimate ways to experience that all problems have multiple solutions, and it will help your students have a more positive and stronger attitude towards failure.
Testing their work in real-life situations will also help them become more resilient. When we talk about testing, we are not referring to standardized tests, but to instances and opportunities in which your students will be able to show everything they learned to the world.
Registering your class for a Cyber Robotics Coding Competition, for example, can definitely help your class’ members to face a number of in-situ challenges that will put them closer to a more resilient version of themselves.
The idea is for you to invite your students while teaching them how to code, to think outside of the box and to leave faster than ever their dangerous comfort-zone. The coding field in education could be seen as just another STEM subject, but if we understand that it can help them not only play with their very own virtual version of the LEGO Mindstorms EV3 but also give them fundamental soft-skills for the future, it will be way easier for educators to get motivation and create more engaging classes and more impactful STEM curricula.
Sharing is caring, and being able to receive constructive criticism will be transcendental to succeed in the workforce of the future. As a teacher, you should make sure the space you create when teaching coding to your students is safe, nice, and comfortable. This is the only way in which your students will freely share with you, other guides, and their classmates all of the academic processes they are going through.
Being able to work in teams, and consider and accept the opinions of others while having to put your own opinion aside, also boosts your students’ ability to be more resilient. When teaching your students how to code, how to program their very own virtual robot, or how to create their own app, including teamwork instances, is extremely important.
One great way to mix teamwork and coding is registering your class in any robotics competition. These instances will enable them to experience -in a phenomenal way- every process they need to better perform under stress, to solve problems in an effective way, to work in teams, to lead the process and to become better prepared human beings.
You can begin your process today. Start giving your students all the tools they need to become more resilient while learning how to code. You and your colleagues can register for a 14-day free trial of CoderZ, an amazing online learning environment in which your students will learn how to program a robot with gamified missions. Another possibility is for you to register your class for a CRCC in either your school, district or state.
The sooner you begin, the better the results you and your students will get. May the code be with you!
A provider of STEM-robotics equipment and training for young women and teachers in underserved communities around the globe, the Community Bots is the brainchild of Jack Cooley, a science teacher with a 25-year success record across grades 3-12.
For Parkland Magnet MS’ teachers, CoderZ offers up real-world applications that help students actually see how what they’re learning is applicable in the real world—even though it’s only in a computer simulation.
With the help of a DOE grant, Parkside school is now using CoderZ, an innovative online learning environment where kids learn how to program real and virtual robots using a 3D robotics simulation.
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