As schools in the UK prepare to teach computer code, technology is gearing up for a new role in the classroom.
In a move to bridge the digital skills gap in the UK, the government has revamped the IT curriculum for primary and secondary schools. From September 2014, pupils as young as five will learn the basics of computer programming and the important backend codes that make websites work.
This means pupils across the nation will be immersed in web language and app development until the age of sixteen. It’s a bold move for the Education sector, but one that is necessary for the future of British commerce. It is hoped that knowledge of technology inside and outside the classroom will play a huge role in the lives of young people.
Technology in the classroom isn’t a new concept, albeit a fairly new practice in the UK. Studies have shown devices like tablets and interactive whiteboards improve the learning process. By complimenting traditional teaching methods, technology in the classroom engages pupils on a deeper level. And the top nations for education are already seeing improved results.
Schools in the UK are increasingly adopting technology like iPads and SMART boards to enhance key subjects like maths, English and science. But a government initiative to include coding in the national curriculum puts a new emphasis on classroom tech – and mobile devices in particular.
Aside from improving existing subjects, using the latest devices to learn programming is the ideal choice. It will teach kids how to create the building blocks of apps and websites used all over the world on a daily basis. On the same devices they use to learn it.
The shift will see pupils use devices in a new way. Not just consuming content and downloading apps, but using them to create their own code and applications. They will learn why some devices are better than others, what makes a good app and how to create programs to solve real-life problems.
Developing the future
Bringing code and other digital skills into the curriculum is a necessary step. If anything it should have happened sooner. A point reinforced by major tech entrepreneurs claiming the UK is falling behind in technology.
As the internet plays an increasing role in everything we do, related skills like coding, design and digital marketing will become essential qualifications. Almost every business has a website and social media accounts, while many have their own apps. The business world is shifting evermore online and we need to prepare our students for working life in the digital era.
Put an iPad in their hands and kids as young as five can get a colourful introduction to programming with Kodable. While Codecademy: Hour of Code aims to teach older minds the basics of code within an hour.
The resources are all there. It’s just a case of schools equipping themselves with the necessary technology and expertise to teach programming when it becomes compulsory in September.