“Sometimes, as an educator, you find yourself too busy to explain certain concepts and wind up interchanging both words to explain what your students are working on.”

Coding vs. Programming

A big issue in the teaching STEM is the synonymous use of the terms “Coding” and “Programming.” Aren’t they the same? Well, no. But before I jump to far ahead, I am guilty of this too. Sometimes, as an educator, you find yourself too busy to explain certain concepts and wind up interchanging both words to explain what your students are working on. However, we should distinguish the two words from one another. After all, it’s important that students understand the differences between coding & programming. So let’s get started.

 

Coding

So, what is coding? Well, it means exactly that, to code. Coders are typically writing code for various different purposes. Lines of code are used to do multiple things. You can code the colors of a website or app. You can write code for an app. You can even use code to develop a video game. But the term starts to get convoluted as we near video game production or even software production. This is because these also need to be programmed. Coding involves writing lines of code in a particular coding language. The easiest way to explain this is by talking about HTML and CSS. HTML and CSS are (were?) commonly used to develop websites, web apps, and web games. A lot of the code one writes simply dictates what content a user will see and what the website will look like.

“A blockquote highlights important information, which may or may not be an actual quote. It uses distinct styling to set it apart from other content on the page.”

Programming


Now where does programming differ? Programming involves programming a machine or computer on how to run and, even, how to execute our code. Computers and machines are very smart, but they are smart because we program them to execute the desired functions. For example: A microwave is programmed to accept a user input of time and warm its contents until the said time is over.

 

Read Along


With the on-going Pandemic there is dire need for distance learning and accessible (key-word) learning apps and methods. One of the big players in online learning, Google, is really stepping up to the plate this year (and last year) with tons of accessible learning apps for the digital age; one of these apps being Read Along.

 

At the moment of writing this (05/11/2020) Read Along only seems to be available for Android based devices which isn’t truly accessible as they are denying users with Apple devices the right to download and use the app with their kids/students.

 

Anyways, the app starts you off with an avatar who reads lines to you and then asks for you to read them back. The voice is kind of robotic which can get a tad bit annoying. The app then asks for microphone permissions so it can record your child’s voice. Kind of a scary thought, but the point is to score your child on how they pronounce each word. Moving forward, the app takes you to it’s main page which is the library. The library is filled with several different stories, as well as stories you can download to your device.

After clicking on a story, your child can quickly begin reading or click on the female/robot avatar that will read the sentence aloud to help them out. A cool feature of this app is how the points systems work. If the child/student leaves a book early, they lose all their reading points. This disables students from “cheating” their way into prizes.

This is definitely a unique app in the EdTech learning space. Of course, it’s features do raise some concerns.