Kids and Coding in School

I’ve been working in and around schools, providing ICT support and in the past as a school Governor and Chair long enough to have seen the squeeze applied to the curriculum by the addition of various IT/ICT schemes of work over the years.

Kids definitely come up against IT in a variety of guises once they reach the world of work and anything that prepares them for that is good in my book but the switch in focus from a vanilla Microsoft Office based offering to the current “in vogue” of kids and coding may be throwing the baby out with the bath-water.

Most of us at work will need to appreciate the basics of IT, including (but not restricted to) elements of WORD, EXCEL, OUTLOOK and possibly ACCESS but won’t really brush up against programming languages such as HTML, Javascript or Python or the rest. Maybe, leave the Microsoft Office section of the curriculum intact, by all means explain the importance and basics of coding but perhaps leave the detail to the kids that feel enthused enough to dig deeper via an optional Code Club.

In my experience, most (and I use the term generally and mean no disrespect to those that love ICT) teaching staff are not particularly comfortable or “up” on coding concepts or languages and so leaving the code-crunching to those that staff that have more of an interest and wish to pass that on outside the main stream of the curriculum may help reduce teacher stress and alleviate curriculum cram. Plus, the ICT coordinator may not be a coder!

Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail in Canada puts more meat on the bones, you can read her excellent article here