In Finland, Teaching Computer Science across the Curriculum
I am excited to get quoted (and correctly!) in an article about the Finnish approach to using programming to teach across the curriculum. The article gets the idea a little wrong — it’s not really about teaching CS without computers, as the title suggests. The key idea is that “Finnish children are taught to think of coding and programming more as tools to be explored and utilized across multiple subjects
Liukas pushes back at the idea that children are already tech-savvy simply because they seem to be able to navigate an iPhone intuitively. She’s particularly fond of this quote from the American computing professor Mark Guzdial:
We want students to understand what a computer can do, what a human can do, and why that’s different. To understand computing is to have a robust mental model of a notional machine.
In other words, knowing how to use something isn’t the same as understanding how it works. And because programming can be taught in so many ways, Liukas said, it can be an opportunity for kids to learn lots of related skills, such as how to collaborate, how to tell a story, and how to think creatively.
“This demands a lot from the teachers, obviously,” Liukas said during a presentation at the embassy event. This is true in the sense that incorporating coding and programming lessons across disciplines requires all kinds of educators, from the science teacher to the art teacher, to understand the basics.