Getting Your Students Excited about Coding

When students come into your class excited and ready to learn, that’s a win. In contrast, teaching can be long and exhausting when your students don’t connect with the topic or lesson.

Many students have difficulty connecting with coding. They are either overwhelmed by the prospect of coding, or don’t think that coding will be interesting for them. However, coding has the power to teach students incredibly valuable career skills.

During our second Month of Swift webinar, we sat down with veteran coding educators Brian Foutty and Mike Yakubovsky. We broke down their advice for how to get your students excited about coding.

Rebrand Your Course

One of the first barriers you face as an educator is getting students in the door, especially if your course is an elective. For some students, the idea of taking a “Computer Science” class as an elective is a hard stop. Mike mentioned a colleague who had a creative solution. “A fellow educator in Hawaii changed the name of his class. His course is no longer ‘Computer Science’, it’s now ‘Solving Community Problems’. He didn’t change any of the content he teaches in the class, only the name. I love the rebrand because it helps students see that coding is not a thing unto itself. Coding is a tool to solve a problem.”

Build Up Problem-Solving Skills

Once students have enrolled, establishing a solid foundation for coding skills is the next step. A study from the Journal of Information Technology Education notes that poor problem-solving ability is the primary reason for failure for programming students. Start your course with a simple task to help students navigate the journey between a problem and a creative solution. Helping students flex their innovative problem-solving muscles will prepare them to solve larger problems with their coding and development.

Host Coding Events

Now that you’ve helped your students lay a solid foundation, you can bring coding to life with a live coding event. Apple has created coding event opportunities using Swift Coding Club. Swift Coding Clubs are a fun way to learn to code and design apps. Activities built around Swift, Apple’s coding language, help you collaborate as students learn to code, prototype apps, and think about how code can make a difference in the world.

You can also utilize additional resources, such as Hour of Code, Girls Who Code, and Scratch. Helping students see coding in action brings life and excitement to a topic that mystifies many.

Put Skills into Context

Hosting events help students see the power of coding live. You can further nurture excitement by putting coding skills into environments that matter to your students. Help them create apps to solve problems in the community.

During our webinar, Mike commented, “When I let students pick a problem they want to solve, I don’t have to drag them through. They’re coming to me asking questions such as, ‘I need to learn how to do a database to be able to finish my app.’ If you let them pick a problem they want to solve, your students will do all the hard work for you.” If the problem they’re solving matters to your students, they’ll dive in headfirst.

Interested in helping your students learn coding skills in the classroom? Swift is a robust and intuitive programming language created by Apple. It’s easy to learn, simple to use, and super powerful — which makes it a great language for first time coders and full-time developers. You can learn more about Apple’s Swift resources and certifications here.