Coding as a Palette of Virtues

Metaphors are powerful. In her book Beyond Coding: How to Teach Human Values through Programming, Marina Bers uses the metaphor of a palette of virtues to describe a pedagogical roadmap for teaching coding that encompasses the cultivation of character along with technical knowledge and skills. This metaphor recalls the painter’s palette, and the agency associated with being intentional about the human values we develop as we learn to program and make creative coding projects. Our palette of virtues starts with ten values. However, new ones can be added. 

Within this approach, creative programming can be a pathway for character development, for exploring the socio emotional and ethical dimensions of learning. Ultimately, to understand that our actions, like the actions of anyone who creates, have consequences.

The coding "palette of virtues" that is a painter's palette with different blobs of colors on it with each blob having a different virtue on it.

See the Palette of Virtues in practice here!