Sugar Labs @ NDSU

Building a smarter computing culture in Fargo, ND

“Code Decade” Curriculum

As the calendar turned over to 2012, the online educational initiative, Codeacademy, launched a “Code Year” campaign for people to learn “how to code” by supplying “interactive programming lessons” in JavaScript via email every Monday throughout the year (“Code Year”). Yet, the Code Year movement raises up an emerging crisis slogan for not keeping up: “Program, or be programmed” (Rushkoff, Program, or be Programmed). This presents challenges for writing and literacy studies and movements as “coding” presents a daunting expectations for 21st century literacy education.

As an effort to take up the challenge of “code year,” we designed a 14 week, after-school program for 4th and 5th graders built around the open source software “Sugar” and its activities, particularly Write, Turtle Art, Physics, and Etoys. Yet, even though our approach coincides with the “code year” movement, our curriculum hopes to offer a more realistic and more reasonable, albeit ambitious, approach in response to all of the talk of the crisis of “falling behind.”

Accordingly, we are a research and development program that continually develops educational materials, curricula, guides, and documentation to support our mission to think bigger than “code year” and instead envision, build, and promote “Code Decade!” (Check out the “Code Decade” Vision page; also, read Peter Vorvig’s “Teach Yourself Programming in Ten Years“.)

We believe that there’s more to computing than “learning to code,” so we have started to work with Sugar Labs and the One Laptop Per Child organizations, and will also work to develop educational materials to help kids ask more questions around the central question of “What is a computer?”

3rd-5th Grade Curricula


One comment on ““Code Decade” Curriculum

  1. Pingback: Sugar Labs@NDSU Update :: 12/02/2011 « The Fargo XO / Sugar Project

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