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"Beyond Coding: How Children Learn Human Values Through Programming" by Marina Umaschi Bers

Mar 24 2023
"Beyond Coding: How Children Learn Human Values Through Programming" by Marina Umaschi Bers

Marina Umaschi Bers argues that programming is not just about computer science, but rather it supports new ways of thinking and problem-solving that are essential for success in any field. In her book "Beyond Coding," she stresses the importance of teaching children programming using a playful and exploratory approach that connects ethics and values to programming. 

Umaschi Bers highlights the crucial moral and developmental virtues that educators must impart, such as curiosity, open-mindedness, fairness, generosity, honesty, optimism, patience, perseverance, gratitude, and forgiveness. She urges teachers to use play as a powerful teaching tool and to create classroom cultures of curiosity and learning. 

The author refutes those who call for an emphasis on STEM, arguing that coding is the new literacy, and everyone needs to learn it. She emphasizes that coding literacy will improve the cognitive development and career opportunities of future generations. 

Umaschi Bers offers insights into the different teaching perspectives of "instructionists" and "constructionists." She suggests that educators should reflect on whether they want to focus more on imparting skills and knowledge or on individual development. 

Finally, Umaschi Bers reminds us that future programmers must protect global citizenship and facilitate meaningful worldwide connections. She argues that in the coding playground, the intention is to build bridges, not walls. 

In summary, "Beyond Coding" is an insightful book that emphasizes the importance of teaching programming using a playful and exploratory approach while connecting ethics and values to programming. It offers valuable insights for educators, parents, and anyone interested in understanding the potential of coding and its impact on children's cognitive and moral development. 

"Beyond Coding: How Children Learn Human Values Through Programming" by Marina Umaschi Bers is a book that explores the intersection between programming and human values. The book argues that children can learn important values and ethical principles through programming, and that programming can be used as a tool to develop social and emotional skills in children. 

Bers is an expert in the field of child development and computer science, and draws upon her extensive research to explore the ways in which programming can be used to foster social and emotional learning. She argues that programming can help children develop a range of skills, including problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration. 

The book provides a range of examples and case studies to illustrate how programming can be used to teach children about important values such as empathy, respect, and responsibility. Bers also provides practical guidance and advice for parents, educators, and programmers who are interested in using programming as a tool for social and emotional learning. 

Overall, "Beyond Coding" is a thought-provoking and insightful book that challenges readers to rethink the role of programming in education and child development. It offers a compelling argument for the value of programming in teaching children about important human values, and provides practical guidance for using programming to develop social and emotional skills in children. 

One interesting point to note is that coding is not just a useful skill for future job prospects, but it also helps children develop crucial cognitive and social-emotional skills that can benefit them in all areas of life. By learning to code, children can develop problem-solving skills, creativity, and critical thinking abilities. They also learn to collaborate, communicate their ideas effectively, and work together to achieve a shared goal. Moreover, as technology continues to play an increasingly important role in our lives, having a basic understanding of programming languages can empower individuals to better understand and navigate the world around them. In short, learning to code is not just about preparing for the future job market, but it's also about building the skills and confidence necessary to succeed in an ever-changing world."