Finding Relevance in the Jungle of Code.

When you are introduced to a new thing, what initially crosses your mind?  We are constantly surrounded by objects and objectives.  Other peoples' things (ideas, guidelines and parameters) thrown into our basket while we are trying to learn and teach our OWN things.  As adult learners, we often need to find the relevance of these "things" in our own lives, otherwise we will push it aside and go back to using the status quo.

We (as adults) also bring a pretty heavy backpack of life experience that is often not addressed when someone else tries to "sell" their thing to us.

Take coding for example.  

So many companies rely on some form of programming to store massive amounts of data, distribute content, streamline shopping and manage communication with their target audience.  These companies (and their higher ups) did not always incorporate programming into their infrastructure, but realized that they need to create these new systems in order to keep up with our crazy, beautiful world of past-paced innovation.

Because of this, companies (new and old) are not just looking for strong tech skills in its future employees, but the ability to create a big, beautiful idea that happens to incorporate these entrepreneurial tech-spectations.  Programming requires learning a new language, a new form of communication.  The wheel must keep spinning!

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as adults (and teachers specifically), we are probably struggling with answering these questions when it comes to incorporating coding in your classroom:

1. What does it DO?
2. How can I USE it?
3. How will I explain its VALUE?  

For those teaching a non-"STEM-y" subject, it can be difficult to find that relevance for teaching coding in the classroom.

Here is some truth.  It's going to be a challenge to figure out how coding fits into YOUR own life (you didn't grow up around so much digital technology!)  But, think about how you can facilitate new discovery with your students.  Their backpacks of life experience are much LIGHTER, and are yearning for life's curiosities to manifest in the connection of thought to physical process.

Help your STUDENTS answer these three questions, and I'm pretty sure you will pick up on this new language without even realizing it (or any new, weird, intimidating thing).  Discover these new "objects" along with your students, and that wheel will keep on spinning as you pull away in your newly built hydraulic unicycle.