With education moving online, do we even need teachers anymore?… YES!

Public on January 28, 2015
I’ve been often asked, especially by software/techy types whether the Code.org online courses are “good enough” for students to learn on their own without a classroom teacher.  
In my gut, I’ve always believed that a fantastic online course can help students learn even if they don’t have a teacher, and that a fantastic teacher can only make things better.  We now have data to visualize the impact.
This data below comes from millions of students using our Code Studio online courses. Roughly half of these students are studying the courses alone, without a teacher. The other half are learning in a classroom, with the help of tens of thousands of teachers. Student ages range from kindergarten through 12th grade, with the largest group being about 12 years old.
Learning #1: Classrooms progress farther than students studying alone
In the graph below, the X axis is student age, the Y axis is their average progress in our courses. The blue line is students in classrooms with teachers. The red line is students studying without a classroom/teacher.
The blue line is clearly higher than the red line, meaning that students in classrooms progress farther than students learning alone.  (note: ages <5 are students entering inaccurate data, and should be ignored)
Learning #2: Students in classrooms are more diverse than students studying alone
The chart below compares the gender breakdown of students who study Code.org courses independently to students who study in the context of a classroom with a teacher.
Why the difference? When teachers incorporate Code.org courses into their classrooms, we encourage and inspire them to recruit all students to participate. Our courses are often integrated into pre-existing classrooms that already have an equal gender distribution, at younger ages, before stereotypes about coding dissuade girls from trying.
Learning #3: The ethnic backgrounds of students with teachers are impressively diverse
The data below doesn’t come from all students, because (for privacy reasons) we do not allow students to tell us their ethnic background. This chart was collected via an opt-in survey of teachers in the U.S. offering our courses, and as such is susceptible to inaccuracy. The picture it paints helps confirm our thesis that by integrating computer science into younger-aged classrooms in public schools, we can increase the diversity of students learning computer science.
Recruit elementary school teachers to teach computer science!
Of the 100,000 teachers offering our courses, most have not received any special training, but we are now preparing 1,000 elementary school teachers per month, predominantly in public schools, to help them integrate computer science into their classrooms. Soon we’ll be able to report on the difference in student progress when a teacher has received a 1-day workshop, and we’ll even be able to compare the effectiveness of different workshops.
In the meantime, please encourage an elementary school teacher in your neighborhood to check out the Code.org courses for elementary school, and to attend one of our awesome professional development workshops!  If they’re not sure about attending a workshop yet, ask them to just offer one Hour of Code in their classroom.
- Hadi Partovi, co-founder and CEO, Code.org
source : http://codeorg.tumblr.com/

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