Nowadays, most children are confident in accessing and using a computer; but today’s digitally led nation calls for something far more developed than this.
We live in a computerised, programmable world, and to make sense of it, computing is essential for moving forward. Without highly skilled individuals in this area, there’s potential for the UK to become a second-class society in thrall to those who can develop the new technology.
YouGov research has shown that the vast majority of children want to learn to write code. Their findings reveal that 75 per cent of children aged 8 – 15 are ‘very’ or ‘fairly’ interested in making their own apps, but only 3 per cent say they already know how to. In learning to write code, young people can get to the very core of technology and truly understand it from a unique perspective.
There’s research evidence by Dr Matthew Pearson, that talks about how ICT lessons in schools can be “pretty boring” and “little more than a continual rehash of Microsoft Office Skills”. Delving further into his research we discover that students are doing much more creative things with computing outside the school curriculum. We often hear about similar situations within many educational establishments and believe children need to start exploring technology from a young age and, as such, have always supported coding clubs and hackathons that are run out of school hours to encourage passions for computer programming.
The Chartered Institute for IT (BCS) states that it is essential that children from primary school onwards are taught how to create digital technology and software for themselves. It will teach children to think about the problem-solving process itself. Because it touches many aspects of daily life and almost every industry worldwide, computing can be tied to a myriad of students’ interests – helping to nurture these interests, passions and provide future opportunities.
So, with the computing curriculum still at the fore of education, it’s fundamental that schools are fully embracing the changes and promoting coding in a fun and innovative way, allowing students to focus more on the creation of computer programs rather than the simple use of the technology. This programme of study must also continue to be welcomed across the school and more importantly understood correctly. Recent misinterpretations of the term ‘computing’ have cast doubt and uncertainty toward the project before it has even begun.
Joanna Poplawska, from the Corporate IT forum’s Education and Skills Commission said: “Without investment in CPD and teachers, due to the fast pace of technology change, there’s a danger that teachers will not have the technical ability to implement a new curriculum.”
This may prompt educators to question how comfortable teachers are in delivering such new content in this area. Lesson content needs to be altered to accommodate this, so for those that perhaps find ICT challenging at times, how confident are they in teaching a new level of IT that delves into the details of how software works behind the scenes and how it is developed? It’s vital for success that there’s correct support for teachers so they can provide a combination of theory, practice and creativity to make the computing curriculum an extraordinarily beneficial and creative subject, infused with innovation and life skills.