Australian Franchise News – 09-02-15
Chris Betcher argues that computational thinking skills can have a far reaching, positive impact on children.
If you’re a teacher who’s been paying attention lately, you’ve probably heard a lot of talk about the concept of “coding for kids” or teaching children – sometimes quite young children – how to program a computer. Depending on what you think that means, you might find that idea either incredibly exciting or incredibly intimidating. Or maybe you think there are more important things our young kids should be learning. Or maybe you are just not sure what to think.
Before we begin, it’s worth pointing out that this push towards helping our students learn the ideas of coding is not simply about getting them to write computer programs. It’s about helping them to learn to think clearly; identify and analyse problems; come up with creative, innovative solutions; and, ultimately, help make the world a better place.
With computational thinking we can often solve a whole lot of other problems using the same general solution. This style of problem solving – of thinking – is highly valued in the wider world outside school. The ability to clearly analyse difficult problems and come up with innovative, clever, reusable solutions is the kind of thinking that pushes our world forward, yet strangely we tend not to teach it in our schools in any deliberate, systematic way.
The ability to clearly analyse difficult problems and come up with innovative, clever, reusable solutions is the kind of thinking that pushes our world forward.
These skills are actually now embedded into the new Australian Curriculum in a brand new subject called Digital Technologies. This aims to explicitly teach these kinds of thinking skills to all Australian students starting in kindergarten and continuing into high school.
Of course, when you tell kindergarten teachers that they need to start teaching their kids to write computer programs you get some interesting reactions ranging from “I don’t even know how to do that myself!” to “I’m flat out just teaching them to read and count”. But let’s understand that when we talk about getting kids coding, it means doing it in age appropriate ways, focussing on the big picture skills of clear thinking, pattern recognition, idea sequencing and so on.
Simply put, we desperately need coders. Those students, who grow up knowing how to create digital technologies, and not just consume them, will be well placed to help drive Australia’s digital future to exciting new places.
If you should like to consider a career in teaching coding to children, view the ScopeIT Education profile to see if their business opportunity may be right for you: https://www.whichfranchise.net.au/franchisorId589
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