Coding in the classroom

In today’s modern world I think it is time for coding to be taught more widely in New Zealand primary and intermediate schools. Not just through extension or ICT groups, for students who are already computer savvy, but to every school aged student in New Zealand. I see that coding fits naturally within the New Zealand English curriculum framework. I realise some educators might argue that writing code fits into the Technology curriculum but I feel that including coding into the English framework gives the skill a much more prominent place in the curriculum. As a primary trained teacher I know that often Technology is one of the areas that gets ‘squeezed out’ when things get busy. Aligning coding with the English curriculum may help elevate this problem and help to ensure that it is taught more widely in primary and intermediate schools.

The introduction to the New Zealand English curriculum, ‘What is English about?’ states that ‘English is … communicated orally, visually, and in writing, for a range of purposes and audiences and in a variety of text forms. Understanding, using, and creating  written, and visual texts of increasing complexity is at the heart of English teaching and learning. By engaging with text-based activities, students become increasingly skilled and sophisticated speakers and listeners, writers and readers, presenters and viewers.’

Surely coding fits perfectly with this rationale for English. After all, in five years time coding will be a key way that individuals communicate with audiences. Teaching coding is beginning to happen in schools around the world. If New Zealand is truly wanting to become world leaders in technology it is important that we begin to equip our future citizens with these skills now. An interesting website which is dedicated to teaching students to code can be found at https://code.org/educate.

Writing code helps students develop the capabilities for living and lifelong learning. All five key competencies can be developed as students write code. I also like the idea of students working collaboratively with others from around the world as they begin to write and refine code. Sites like http://exercism.io (don’t be put off by the name:-)) can help students achieve this.

I would be interested to hear about what other schools are doing in regards to incorporating coding into their curriculums.

Thanks to all of those who feed back on twitter about this subject. I would especially like to thank @gmacmanus for all the resources that he shared, including docs.google.com/document/d/1eC… which is an invaluable source of information.

An interesting article from the New Zealand Herald explaining how Britain has introduced coding and programming into their school curriculum. Hopefully it won’t be long before the New Zealand Ministry of Education realises the need and relevance for coding to be introduced here!

A great post on coding at iPads 4 Schools. Check it out!

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