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Posted: April 6, 2018

Team Coders

In her weekly message, Supt. Reedy draws a parallel between team computer coders and educators.

I just learned about something called team coding. I heard this term for the first time while watching a video about the Every Kid Can Code program at North Star Elementary School. The goal of this program, funded in large part through a $25,000 Success Grant from the APS Education Foundation, is to provide every student, from kindergarten through fifth grade, with an opportunity to learn about computer coding and robotics.

I love all of the skills the students are learning and applying through this program – logic, problem-solving, decision-making, creativity, and, of course, how to code. The students go from being consumers of electronic devices to using them to turn ideas into reality.

In the video, parent volunteer Anthony Lupinetti talks about something called team coding, a process in which one person sits next to another at a computer but doesn’t touch or control it. Instead, that person observes, comments and helps while allowing the other to steer. A navigator and a driver.

Boy, if that doesn’t sound a whole lot like what we do in public education.

If you have ever tried to help someone on a computer, you know how tempting it is to grab the mouse and do it yourself. On the other hand, if you have ever had anyone grab the mouse out of your hand, you know how infuriating that can be, especially when what you really want is to learn to do it for yourself.

Our students feel the same way. They need guidance. They need patience. They need feedback and direction and repetition and permission to mess up and try again.

What they really want is to learn to do it for themselves.

One style of team coding is called “egoless programming,” which emphasizes friendly, collegial input that puts personal feelings aside. That resonates with me because I know that so many of our employees – so many of you – are egoless advocates for our students, putting their needs first, unassumingly helping them in hopes that they will live high-quality lives.

As your humble superintendent, I thank you for that dedication and devotion to our students and to our cause. It’s not always easy being the navigator. I know how tempting it is to take the wheel, to take the mouse. Know that you are an appreciated member of the team – a team coder if you will – who really is making a difference.

Here's that Every Kid Can Code video I was telling you about: