Everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think. Steve Jobs
Mr. Krieger is the computer teacher at FES. This is his first year in this position. Previously he taught Social Studies at SAMS for 15 years. His masters in Educational Technology readied him for this critical teaching position. He knew that he wanted to introduce the STEM concepts to his young students. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education. We focus on these areas together not only because the skills and knowledge in each discipline are essential for student success, but also because these fields are deeply intertwined in the real world and in how students learn most effectively.
Coding is the art of telling a computer how to perform complex tasks. Once you know how to code, you can create virtual worlds within the computer where the only limit on what is possible is your imagination. Dan Crow
He sees every student, from Kindergarten to grade 5, once a week for class. It was clear to him that an introduction to computer programming/coding was needed, at an appropriate level for each child. By learning how to program/code, children are critically thinking and focusing on problem solving, all while having fun in class.
Along with the basic foundation of keyboarding and other essential technology skills, Mr. Krieger uses a variety of tools to assist him in teaching the children. For example, he uses the free website, Code.org, to enhance computer coding. It is a site that was created to give all students the opportunity to learn computer science. “What’s fascinating about computer science is that it requires analytical skills, problem solving and creativity, while also being both foundational and vocational,” says Hadi Partovi, co-founder of Code.org.
With this strong foundation in coding/programing, older students will be able to create their own computer games or stories in an area known as the Playlab. More advanced students will also have the opportunity to learn from another coding program called Scratch. Scratch is a programming language and an online community where children can program and share interactive media such as stories, games, and animation with people from all over the world. Krieger states, “These hardworking students deserve to be exposed to computer science in a fun, safe atmosphere. By enhancing our technical studies these students will now have the opportunity to engage in a field that they already love.”
According to Krieger, “as we know, students spend many hours every day using technology. By teaching a deeper curriculum, we are providing them the skills that are required for careers in computer science.” The computer science industry, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, will need 1.4 million additional jobs by 2020. Krieger and Mike Von Gunten, Director of Educational Services, have identified an area that needed adjusting, and Firelands students will be better prepared because of it.
Now that the curriculum is in place at FES, students will have the opportunity to continue learning computer science at SAMS. At SAMS the students will continue to use Scratch in the computer lab. The students at SAMS will also be introduced to a new form of computer programming using Khan Academy.