Vancouver Public Schools exposes early learners to coding concepts

At Vancouver Public Schools in Washington, students as early as 1st and 2nd grade — and, in some cases, kindergarten and pre-K — are already learning to code.

It’s part of an initiative that Eddie Sawyer, Vancouver’s innovative technology solutions coordinator, has been particularly invested in this year.

Sawyer and his colleagues are not only reaching early learners through the coding programs, they’re also reaching underrepresented populations, including students in special education.

“We’re seeing students excited … about learning new things and new technology,” Sawyer, who was also named a 2018 CoSN NextGeneration Leader , tells EdScoop TV. “[We’re seeing] 5-year-olds talking about algorithms and knowing how to do step-by-step coding. We’re really seeing some introduction to problem solving that should stay with them for a real long time.”

Sawyer says it’s important for school district leaders and technology specialists not to underestimate the abilities of their teachers and students when it comes to coding. “You can start as early as you want,” he says.

Learn more about Sawyer’s efforts to reach all students through coding, as well as why he thinks makerspaces are “up and coming” in education:

What kind of impact are you seeing from that project so far?

What advice would you offer to others considering this type of project?

What edtech issues do you feel are most important for educators or technology directors to pay attention to this year?