Thursday, January 2, 2014

The Marriage of Math and Programming

You have heard of Khan Academy.  You know the power of personalized, self-driven computer based math practice.  But have you heard of Code Academy?  Just like Khan Academy, Code Academy is free to use and highly individualized.  Additionally, learning code requires students to apply dozens of math skills while concurrently practicing valuable and relevant computer skills. 

Our first article introduces the “Hour of Code.”  This is a collaboration between President Obama and the House to get young people exposed to coding.  Although the tech industry is booming, very few Massachusetts high schools offer computer programming.  We can do better and An 'Hour of Code' Isn't Enough helps us take a small step towards improving.

A typical obstacle may be the fact that few teachers are trained in computer programming.  Also, there are so many common core standards that, on the surface, seem to be unrelated to coding.  Believe it or not, there is a way to connect our math content standards and practices to programming.  Bootstrap uses algebra as the vehicle for creating images and animations, and is aligned with 2011 Massachusetts State Frameworks for Mathematics.

The marriage of math and programming is possible.  In fact, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education just announced the availability of the Title II-B Competitive Grant for fiscal year 2014.  There is approximately $900,000 available for STEM teachers in high need districts. Additional information about the Request for Proposal can be found on the Department's website.

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