Author Archives: ildastoja

Picnic with Ilda and Ayodele!

Summary of Learning.

This blog is a joint effort by Ilda and Ayodele.

Today, Ayodele and I enjoyed a delightful picnic at Wascana Park, where we reflected on our experience in this class.  For me, this marks my last blog and class for my master’s degree, while for Aydole, the end of the first class. Despite our different milestones, we hope to put into practice the valuable knowledge that we learned.

In the last three weeks we explored various topics: from the importance of technology in enhancing students’ learning and whether it provides an equitable society or not, to the impact of social media and use of AI and cell phones in education. These discussions have been both eye-opening and thought provoking. As educators, our journey of continuous learning and professional growth will persist.

Cheers to new adventures!

Ilda & Ayodele

Has Technology Led to a More Equitable Society?

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For certain things I would say that technology has led to a more equitable society and for others I would say that it has not. When it comes to helping students with various impairments, I would say that technology is crucial in enabling these people to express their needs and wants. This article Assistive Devices for People with Hearing, Voice, Speech, or Language Disorders, explains how technology is helping more and more people with “hearing, voice speech and language disorders communicate more meaningfully and participate more fully in their daily lives”. The same article also describes the various ways in which technology is addressing these challenges by creating hearing aids, speech generating devices and communication apps. Technology has revolutionized the way and given the opportunity to the individuals with impairments to interact with other people and fulfill their needs. The question is if everyone can afford financially to have any of these devices based on their need/s. Disparities in affordability can limit people from accessing these forms of technology, especially the low-income families. Additionally, due to the pace of technological advancement, people may not be able to keep up with the latest model of the device that they are using which creates inequities for a particular group of people.   

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When it comes to education, I think technology offers various online platforms to the students to learn and fill their gaps. From IXL that supports students both in Math and ELA, to Seesaw, Prodigy, SORA, Treaty Ed Learning etc. students have the ability to utilize these tools and to enhance their learning and empower themselves with knowledge. However, GoGuardian argue that equitable access to technology “refers to all students having access to technology and information regardless of their ethnicity, socioeconomic status, age, physical ability, or any other quality”. Then the question raised is do all our students have equal access to technology? The answer is no. There are so many students and families who do not have a device or internet, and there are cases that don’t have them both, depending on the place where they are. So, even though the resources exist that doesn’t mean that everyone can access them.

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In the form of media, technology has allowed for people to express their artistic capabilities, whether it be through online music, art, movie making etc. and to share their work much easier. Online platforms have given access to various artists, despite of their background and skill levels to showcase their abilities easier compared to the old ways that existed before. Imagine how many musicians and other artists we see on various social media platforms showing us their skills and abilities, bypassing the need to record or physical distribution of their work. The impact of technology and social media on the music industry share that the old way of peer-to-peer sharing of music files have switched to online streaming platforms on our mobiles devices, hence the physical sales have decreased from 132 million CDs sold in the UK in 2008 to 32 million.

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Similarly, Technology has helped visual artist to be able to display and sell their works online. This digital revolution enables local artists to break geographical barriers and to become famous all over the world.

In conclusion, technology has created more opportunities for success in all forms of human life, through assistive devices, various educational resources, revolutionizing artistic expressions and many more. These advancements have improved the quality of life and offered opportunities to people that were out of reach previously. However, the challenge is if all the people are able to access these forms of technologies? The answer is no, not everyone has equal access to them. This creates and perpetuates disparities instead of creating equities. As we engage more with technology, it is crucial to address these inequities and to strive for a more just world where all the individuals can benefit from technological innovation.

Do Cellphones Belong in the Classroom?

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Do cellphones belong in the classroom? It’s a sharp “NO” on my side. The reason is the distraction they cause, which of course will influence students’ performance in academics. Most of the students have a smart phone and if they were to keep it with them during school hours it is hard to imagine how teaching and learning would take place. The Harvard Gazette says that 77% of schools in USA prohibit cellphones, France does the same thing for students under the age of 15 and in China they are banned country wide for all ages. The reason of banning is linked to bullying and social isolation and the urgent need to keep students focused on schoolwork.  

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Unfortunately, social media has made most people dependent on technology and their phones and the idea that they might be receiving notification is enough to make them not pay attention to what is going on in the classroom. During the debate it was mentioned that students receive 237 notifications per day and a quarter of them during school hours. With such a high number of notifications, students are pulled out of their learning, leading to gaps in academics. The constant interruption undermines the learning process making it harder to concentrate and fully engage with the activities in the classroom. Cellphones are an essential part of our communication and everyday life. But when the students are in the classroom their priority is to learn and communicate with teachers and peers and not be on their phones. The students already are using computers and tablets for learning purposes, and it is hard enough for the teachers to police them to not be destructed and play games, so if we add cellphones on top of that, that might result in even more chaotic and unproductive learning environment.

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Another reason why I think cellphones should be banned in the classroom is because of the social skills that students are lacking. Can you imagine what is going to happen during recess hours if we allow students to have their phones with them outside? I am pretty sure, and I know you are too, that they would all concentrate on taking silly pictures of themselves and playing games instead of interacting and talking with each other. We are already witnessing a decline in face-to-face communication and kids being less active, hence allowing cellphones would only exacerbate the issue. Instead of engaging in meaningful conversation and developing the much-needed social skills, students will miss the opportunities to build relationships with their peers and to be in a more relaxed environment. Recess is a crucial time for social development and if students are missing on that it could hinder their ability to navigate social situations effectively.

During the debate it was brought up the idea that teachers should teach students how to use phones responsibly. I agree with this point being made because we teach not just academics but much more or the so-called hidden curriculum. So, teaching them when and how to use cellphones should be a good start. This will also prepare students on how to handle cellphones when they start working, because as we know most of the working places do not allow employees to use their phones during working hours.

Also, from the opposing team were brought up two points why students need their cellphones in the classroom which are content creation and collaboration. For both of these points I would say that they can be managed without cellphones. Schools have tablets and computers, so students can utalize them to complete their assignments. They are easy to use and teachers can control them better if students are doing anything inappropriate compared to having to check their phones. Also, the school computers are equipped with tools that are really going to help students for their academics, minimizing the risk for destruction and inappropriate use.

As for collaboration, I would prefer my students to interact with each other face to face than through technology. Direct personal communication is crucial for developing communication skills. When they go for a job interview in the future, they won’t use the computer during the interview to answer the questions but they for sure will rely on their ability to articulate their thoughts clearly and in a meaningful way. Hence developing effective communication skills is something that cellphones won’t help our students.

In summary, I would say that while cellphones are a crucial part of everyday life, they do not and should not be part of the classroom because the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. The constant destruction from notifications, the lack of face-to-face communication, and the ability to impede the development of social skills are some of the reasons that cellphones are significant drawbacks that we cannot ignore. These factors disrupt the learning and prevent students focusing on gaining new skills and engaging meaningfully with their peers. By keeping cellphones out of the classroom, we prioritize the quality of education over the potential distraction and disruptions they produce.

AI Technologies Will Revolutionize Education!

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Are you concerned that you won’t have time to get to know all your students as your classroom needs are so high? Are you concerned that you won’t be able to support your students with individualized learning? You don’t have to worry anymore! AI will help you and your students in many ways and make teaching a breeze! Here are some ways that AI can help:

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Personalized learning.

Ai is revolutionizing education, moving from one-size-fits-all to individualized instruction. Can you imagine learning in a way that is most beneficially for you and your learning style? The advantages would be enormous. I am going to share my experience with this innovative educational model. Last year, my school used MindPlay to improve the reading skills of students with learning disabilities. Initially, the students had to take an hour-long test to assess their reading level and find out the gaps they had. After the assessment, MindPlay created individualized lessons. The students practiced every day for 30 minutes, and they also received additional help from the Learning Resource and the classroom teacher. Students’ growth in a month after using this program was equal to that of one year. This demonstrates the remarkable impact that AI can have when utilized as a supplementary tool alongside the traditional way.


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AI language translation tools will have a profound influence on non-native English speaker students, improving their learning experience and offering them the same quality of education as native speaker. By breaking down the language barriers, AI tools will facilitate a more inclusive environment that will enhance students’ learning experience. So, education will no longer be confined by linguistic limitations but will be something where diversity and language are celebrated and embraced. The ability to translate academic materials immediately will foster active engagement for EAL students, thereby reducing educational inequalities.

Predictive analytics for students’ success.

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Imagine a scenario where teachers can anticipate the academic challenges their students might face. With AI’s predictive analytic capabilities, this is not a far-fetched idea. AI can detect students’ struggles in advance, allowing teachers to intervene promptly and provide the necessary support. This proactive approach ensures that students can bridge their learning gaps faster and keep up with their peers. This form of AI goes beyond teaching; it ensures that every student has the opportunity to succeed academically.

During our discussion about the impact of AI in education, the opposing team saw this as a threat to students’ privacy, with which I disagree. They gave a scenario when one student decided to go and meet her friends at the mall instead of doing what she was supposed to do; go to school and learn! Her robot coach had access to the messages exchanged and, based on the data collection, predicted a probability of 87%. that the students would not attend school that day. AI sent a personalized message to push the student to go to school. This was considered as a bridge to the student’s privacy, instead as an innovative thing of AI, to keep students engaged with school. As for the concern of protection of private data I may argue that the use of AI in this way represents a significant trade-off between privacy and educational engagement. So, the real power of AI lies in its potential to improve students’ performance and attendance.

Another way that AI will revolutionize education is by helping students with disabilities. This point was also argued as something that AI won’t be able to help students with disabilities to which I disagree, because AI is a game changer for nonverbal students who use AAC devices (Augmentative Alternative Communication). AAC devices powered by AI tools could help these students overcome their speech challenges.

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In conclusion, the importance of AI in education is undeniable. By providing personalized learning experiences, breaking down language barriers, predicting academic struggles, and supporting students with disabilities, AI will revolutionize education. While there might still be some privacy and data protection concerns, the benefits we can get are immense. AI’s tools can serve as valuable supplements to traditional learning methods, and when used effectively, they can enhance students’ learning. Embracing AI and its tools will address the current challenges of the education system and pave the way for a more innovative learning environment.

I would like to finish this post with the video below:

Social Media in a Frenzy!

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Social media has rapidly evolved and become the new trend over the last decade. We wake up with social media notification, use it throughout the day scrolling and scrolling non-stop, and often fall asleep staring at the screen. What began with Facebook, now has expanded into a vast array of platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn. I always have a positive attitude towards technology and how it has improved our lives. When it comes to the use of social media, I would confidently say it is ruining our lives, at least for most of us.

For many young people, social media has become a crucial part of their life, something with which they connect and identify themselves with. It shapes the way in which they view themselves and understand the world around them. The huge influence that it carries on the youth, especially for children and adolescents, is undeniable.

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One of the most concerning issues with social media is the pressure of comparison and the unrealistic expectations it puts on the parents. The images that people post are not realistic due to the filters being used, creating unrealistic standards of beauty and happiness. Seeing these people as role models in life, creates feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem for the young kids. These unattainable high standards contribute to mental health issues. These high standards put pressure not only on the youth but parents as well. Constrained to fulfill the wishes of their kids, they might find themselves into immerse pressure and financial strain.


Additionally, social media can greatly affect real life interactions. Face to face communication are replaced by digital exchanges, mostly emojis, which lack emotional depth. To make things worse, the family conversations between parents and their kids or siblings are slowly fading, eroding the ties of the family. We live under the same roof, share the same living room and yet feel isolated due to the time we dedicate to the digital world instead of dedicating time to each other.

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The addictive aspect of social media is another concern. Due to the time that children and young people spent, that interferes with important aspects of childhood, such as relaxing time, their studies, and physical activities. Social media platforms use algorithms that focus on users behaviors and preferences to keep them captivated for hours and hours.

During the debate on the impacts that social media has on the youth it was mentioned the documentary The Social Dilemma. This documentary explains the negative effects that social media can have on peoples’ behavior,  some of them similar to the points I have mentioned previously. One of the many things that stuck with me from this documentary was when one of the interviewers said that “if you are not paying for the product than you are the product”. This profound statement underscores a very sad truth about social media which is the users being exploited for the profits of these platforms.

While social media can offer various tools for communication, as mentioned by one of the groups in the debate, it is crucial to recognize and address the negative impacts on youth and adolescents.  Educating the youth on the risk that social media carries, restricting the screen time and setting boundaries on the themes and topic to explore can help mitigate some of these issues. By promoting better and healthy habits, we can ensure that technology can serve in a positive way.

Can Technology Enhance Learning?

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In today’s digital age, technology has become an inseparable part of our everyday lives, and education is no exception. From online resources, for both students and teachers, to interactive learning tools, technology offers many ways to enhance the learning experience. By integrating various platforms, we can create a more individualized learning environment that better meets  our students’ needs.

From my perspective as a Learning Resource teacher, I have witnessed firsthand how technology can significantly support the needs of my students. One of the standout tools I use frequently is Immersive Reader. This tool is particularly beneficial to students who struggle with reading. Immersive Reader provides features such as column width, page color, line focus and many more, which can make reading more accessible and less daunting for these students.

Additionally, Speech-to-Text plays a crucial role in providing help for the students who struggle with spelling. This tool allows students to express their thoughts and ideas and to convert them into writing, enabling them to focus on the content rather than worrying about spelling challenges.

On the other hand, Text-to-Speech technology addresses reading challenges by reading written text to students who struggle with decoding skills. This helps in breaking the reading barriers.

PowerPoint is another powerful  platform that I utilize daily in my job and which I believe helps students learn. The new reading program that I used daily, UFLI, has incorporated PowerPoint slides as one of the main ways of instructional materials. These slides offer an interactive and visually stimulating way to teach and revise various reading skills. This approach keeps students engaged and facilitates better comprehension.

The integration of these technological tools not only enhances the effectiveness of teaching but also accommodates various learning needs for the students. The integration of technology in my daily teaching helps create a dynamic and responsive environment, and also gives students the opportunity to reach their full potential and thrive.

During our debate about effectivenes use of technology, one concern was the lack of training for the teachers. During the discussion, it was brought up that teachers should use technology in an effective way that enhances students’ experience and not just for the sake of using it. Ayodele made a very good point, to which I agree, that teachers should not expect only from the school division to learn how to use technology. On the contrary, teachers should take the plunge and teach themselves to teach after their students.

The other side of the debaters gave their reasoning that technology is more of a distraction for the students than a learning tool. For this point, I would say that it depends on the students’ needs, what we are trying to teach, and on the skills that teachers have to incorporate technology effectively. The article Devices in the Classroom also points out that the problem is not the device but how we incorporate them in the classroom. So, as previously stated, teachers’ expertise is crucial to effectively integratin technology to enhance students’ learning.

In conclusion, I can say with certainty that when incorporated properly, technology can indeed enhance students’ learning. As a Learning Resource Teacher, I have witnessed the growth in reading skills for my students, thanks to the innovative tools technology provides. Despite the challenges in regard to teachers’ training, with self-commitment to professional development, we can overcome these barriers. Technology has the power to not just improve, but to transform education and to help students enhance their learning in ways we never thought possible.

Enjoying Summertime with Technology!

It is summertime and I am really loving taking a break from lesson plans and posting assignments and worksheets on OneNote. At the same time though, I have started to feel a bit bored, so I was wondering besides going for walks what else could I do? Well, the first thing that came to my mind was reading books online. Even though I was trying to stay away from technology, it seems like technology cannot stay away from me. The first thought that came to my mind was to go and buy a book, however, recently I have started reading ebooks and I find them very convenient. I searched on Google and I was able to find a variety of books, and what is important in today’s economy, they were free, or very cheap to buy! The first book that I chose was The Joseph Blessing: Change the World with Your God-Driven Dream. I always dream for a better world for myself and the kids so I thought maybe this is the right book that will teach me how to change the world.

As I was reading my book the phone rang. My parents were calling me. Now that I am not working, video-chatting with them is the best part of the day for me. Technology has improved my life in so many ways and one of them is being able to connect with my parents daily through WhatsApp. This free app allows me and other users to connect with people through voice and video calls, anywhere and anytime all over the world, as long as there is internet and the app is available. Being on two different continents sometimes might pose challenges in connecting with other people, but not when you have WhatsApp.

Later that day, my daughter asked me if she could go and visit her friend. She lives in the other side of the city and even after more than 12 years living in Regina, unfortunately, I am not yet familiar with most of the places. But that is something that does not worry me at all, because GPS comes really handy for me very often. I set up the route, and made sure to check up for traffic delays, because it is summer and for Regina that means “it is construction time”. As I was driving, I felt a sense of relief knowing how modern technology would guide me to go safely to unfamiliar places around the city.

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Supper time was coming, and I had no idea what I was cooking. I have an old cooking book that I have bought in Albania, but as I was going through I didn’t find anything easy. As usual nowadays, technology gave me the solution. I went on Google and I found a website with plenty of recipes. There were so many options there, but this time I decided to go for Greek Orzo Pasta Salad with Dill and Feta. My family loves feta cheese, so this recipe would give me absolute success for supper.

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After a very delicious supper, it was time to relax. For me, one way of doing this is through watching documentaries about nature or animals. I went on Amazon and I was able to find Life on Our Planet; no better way to end the day.

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As I reflect on the various ways technology has been intertwined into my summer routine, I am reminded how necessary it has become in my everyday life. Whether it’s through the use of WhatsApp to stay connected with the loved ones all over the world, to navigating unfamiliar roads with GPS, discovering new recipes or finding captivating eBooks and documentaries, technology enhances and enriches my daily life in countless ways, offering me endless possibilities. As I continue to use these tools, it becomes clear that technology is not just a convenience- but a crucial part of my life that helps me thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Cooking & Convo’s with Ilda and Erin!

This blog is done in collaboration with Erin.

Attached is our (myself and Erin) summary of learning throughout this class. We chat about numerous different topics that we learned such as Web 2.0codingAssistive Technology, as we cook using a recipe we found on the web. We made a few little changes, but the results were still amazing…thank us later 😉

Cheers to a great semester of learning!

Ilda & Erin

Empowering Myself with AI!

My first time using AI was when my school division introduced the Magic School. Yes, I know I have been talking all the time during this course for Magic School, but that’s because I love it, as it has made my life so much easier. Where should I start?

As a Learning Resource teacher, one of my responsibilities is to create data collection for students who are on the Inclusion and Intervention Plan (IIP). Previously, it had taken me a lot of time to prepare these data collection sheets as they have to be individualized for each goal and, more specifically, for each student. Let’s say 5 goals per student X 40 students… I’m gonna let you do the calculation. This year, I used Magic School, and it saved me so many long hours of work and frustration. What’s more important is that the final result was much better than before. The forms I created are more accessible to fill in through the computer if you don’t want to print them, and you can edit them if necessary.

Magic School has also helped me create Social Stories for the students. Based on their needs, social stories can help students understand emotions, behaviours, and feelings, work through personal issues, and predict their actions regarding handling various situations. They are straightforward, and you can create as many as you want. The story below is the one AI—Magic School created for me. The command that I asked Magic School was: “Make a social story for Ilda on how to use AI.”

Here is the story:

I am Ilda. Sometimes, I use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help me with different tasks. AI is like having an intelligent assistant that can answer questions and give me information.

I can use AI on my computer, tablet, or even my smart speaker at home. When I need help getting started, I can ask my parents or teacher.

It’s great that AI can help me find answers to questions quickly. If I’m unsure how to use AI, someone can show me step by step. I can also practice using AI by asking simple questions first.

When I use AI, I feel excited to learn new things and discover information that interests me. If I have trouble understanding the answers from AI, I can ask for clarification without worrying.

I will work on speaking clearly and calmly when asking AI for help. I can also thank AI for providing me with the necessary information.

Remember, using AI is a fun and helpful tool for learning and exploring new things!

Magic School also helps me with lesson plans, IIP generators, assessments, rubric generators, customizing texts based on students’ favoured topics, and more. When this platform was initially introduced to us, all its features were available. Unfortunately, some of the features now require a subscription.

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ChatGPT is another AI that I use for my work. I use it to summarize lengthy articles, clarify, and answer questions.

So far, I am thrilled with AI but simultaneously scared. Thrilled because it has shortened the time needed for completing tasks and allowed me to spend time on other things. Having AI available 24/7 enables me to access it anytime and anywhere. Since technology is advancing rapidly, my only concern with AI is taking over our lives. We want technology to make our life easier, however we still want humans to have the upper hand on things. The video that the last group showed in the previous presentation, Evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI), says that “With the advancement of technology and a better understanding of the human brain, the capabilities of AI would change drastically over the years” (min 3:34). As long as AI changes the world to benefit us that’s okay but if it works against us that is what concerns me.  

The benefits of technology and AI are undeniable. We can all see how it has revolutionized our lives in many areas. However, we must ensure that we use it responsibly to maximize its benefits for the betterment of life and society.

Coding, Are There Any Benefits?

Based on the Lakehead University coding is about giving instructions and crafting sets of rules that can be programmed into a digital device to perform.

My first encounter with coding was a few years ago with first and second grade students. My main reason for incorporating coding in my teaching was to better engage students in reading activities and letter recognition. The activity that I used was called Robot Mouse. Using a robot mouse, a mat, coding cards, reading cards, and remote-control students followed the instructions on the coding cards to move the robot mouse to the corresponding cards and to read aloud the associated word or letter. I have included a YouTube video below for those who would like to become familiar with this activity. The only difference is that instead of robot mouse, it is used a ladybug.

Code & Learn! Ladybug

Whenever students used the robot mouse for reading activities, they showed happiness and high levels of engagement. In one of the articles that Kelsey and Kanwal had for their presentation,  was mentioned how beneficial coding can be for students. One of these benefits can be the problem solving and critical thinking that students would have to learn. And I couldn’t agree more with that. When my students wanted to send the robot mouse in a certain word, they would have to think how many movements the mouse would go forward, left, or right to reach the destination they wanted. Engaging students with coding activities allowed them to break down the steps of a big problem into more manageable and smaller steps and to create a sequence of actions of how to solve the problem. It also allowed them to strengthen their critical thinking and to expand their creativity.

When I incorporated coding in my teaching practices, I was able to see firsthand its benefits but some challenges at the same time. For the major part, most of the students grasped the concept of coding with no extra effort; however, for some other students coding ended up being daunting and challenging. Programing the robot mouse to follow the steps shown on the coding card was not easy which resulted in students being frustrated and resisting to not engage with coding and this particular activity.

When I was trying to explore what are some other benefits for coding, I encountered the below information in the Regina Catholic School Division (RCSD) website, and I was surprised to see how beneficial coding can be in various areas such as in:


In math – it helps students apply math to “real-world situations” turning math into a fun activity for students.

In writing – it helps kids improve their writing skills by understanding the value of “concision and planning”.

In creativity – it allows students to use their creativity to find the solution for their problem, and it builds students’ confidence “as they learn to problem-solve through coding”

Another area where coding is very helpful is to build soft skills. The more students write complicated codes the better they become in focusing and organization skills. Coding sometimes becomes challenging for students due to the rules and steps that are necessary to build and follow. This helps the students to build resilience while working through these challenges. When students learn how to code they learn how to communicate their ideas clearly with the computer.

Coding can also pave the future of the kids by empowering their confidence and problem solving. It teaches life skills and offers more opportunities for a future careers.

As you can see, the values that coding brings are vast. Whether that is for academics, life skills, or just for fun, coding opens up a world of possibilities for our students and it empowers them with the necessary skills and mindset to thrive in whatever path they choose to pursue. Integrating coding in our curricula will help students to become participants and to see themselves as active contributors to the digital world. As technology is becoming an integral part of education, it is important to become innovative and creative and coding offers us this opportunity.