Posted: Fri, 02/28/2020 - 4:23 pm EST
Block-based coding is the most popular coding language in K-12 classrooms. However, our current block-based coding approach lacks the introduction of syntax along with a strategic progression toward text-based coding.
Blocks are an abstraction of text-based code. In robotics and mobile application building, the use of blocks significantly speeds up the coding and troubleshooting process for developers. Even in authentic coding realms, programmers often find themselves coding original blocks to add specific functionality to their programs. Despite increased exposure to block-based platforms in the elementary classroom, students are not learning the text-based code that is fundamental for each block. In order to push computer science education forward, teachers need to introduce text-based coding and syntax to students alongside the key principles for block-based coding.
Teachers must help create a path for students’ future learning by combining text- and block-based coding efforts in order to teach syntax and logic through language and operations. This multifaceted approach allows teachers to learn text-based programming languages in a scaffolding manner instead of through a fire hose, thus reducing anxiety. For students, this approach yields an increased skill set and an understanding of concrete relationships between concepts in multiple paradigms instead of our current reliance on block programming.
Do you emphasize text-based coding alongside block-based coding? Let me know in the comments!