“I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think.”-Steve Jobs
In recent years it seems as though school systems are slowly realizing that the way we are preparing our students for the future is no longer beneficial. In fact the Province of British Columbia recently announced that they will be implementing mandatory coding for students K-12. Students have to be prepared to succeed in a world which is changing much faster than in the past. Students can no longer be expected to be static learners in a singular space and time. A basic understanding of technology and how computer systems work are skills that schools must begin to promote if students are to have success in the job market. Coding has been seen in the past to be a skill required for jobs in the tech industry, however, the applications across curricula are astounding. As seen in edutopia’s recent blog post, by @coolcatteacher, 15+ Ways of Teaching Every Student to Code, there are even teachers developing lesson plans that teach coding skills and basics without the use of computers.
The principles of the process are fairly straightforward and can be linked to a variety of subject matter and added onto numerous skills sets. As shared in this Connected Learning Podcast below, the skills that are being taught are not simply those need to program a computer but instead are the skills needed to tackle everyday problems in life. This focus on problem solving is just one of the many advantages of learning to code. Coding will also have a direct impact on math and science Imagine students learning how to look back through their work, find errors or make suggestions, and improve on what they’ve done through collaboration with other students. The future will be dominated by the need for people who understand how and why programs work the way they do.
Problem solving then becomes one of the secondary skills learned through coding. This ensures that students will be prepared for a career or set of multiple careers in which they are able to easily adapt to difficult situations and solve complex problems by breaking them down into smaller pieces. As shared in the video below, almost any career you can think of has been infiltrated by technology in some form. Canada’s technology industry is seeing a major need for people with experience in programming and computer science. Our students are using more technology every day. Wouldn’t behove us to teach them why and how their devices, laptops and cellphones actually function.
Is coding a necessary skill to enhance the prospects and skills sets of our students? Should we teach coding in schools? Well, lets think of it this way. Do we want future Canadian citizens who can solve complex problems, collaborate, create, enhance, and express themselves in new ways? My goal for the next 3 months is to dive into this world of coding with the aim of eventually introducing coding to my middle years students. The prospect of learning to code alongside my students is exiting and I will be documenting my learning as I increase my problem solving skills through the power of coding.