Apologies if this has been posted already... the BBC's take on the speech
I suggest the use of "Govewin" - if Michael Gove is in favour of your idea, even if it's a good idea, you've already lost the argument because: Michael Gove.
simpsonj (23rd January 2014)
I think it's an excellent idea to teach children to code.
I very much doubt that they're going to stick 5 years olds in front of a Python shell and tell them to get on with it, but if they start to teach them computational thinking and problem solving at that age (which they can do with age appropriate tools such as BeeBot and Daisy) then it will stand them in good stead when they get to some actual coding later on in their education.
How many people here used LOGO at primary school? I did and it was life changing (seriously!) because for the first time it made me realise that computers don't "just work", somebody has to tell them how to do the things they do and I knew I immediately that I wanted to know how to do that. So imagine my disappointment when I found that my daughter had never even heard of it, nor anything similar. They do less programming now than they did 20 years ago! Needless to say, I got to work on her myself and she now happily taps away on Code Academy and is slowly learning to program Minecraft mods on the R-Pi using Python. She's 9.
Nobody is claiming that every child will become an ace programmer capable of writing industry standard software by the time they leave school (nobody with any sense anyway) but one of the most important aspects of school life, in my opinion, is to expose children to as much of the world as possible, otherwise they may find their passion in life too late to make a viable career of it.
Aside from the many other skills that children stand to pick up from learning to code (problem solving being a major one; I'm tired of kids seeing a problem and immediately giving up when just 5 minutes of thought and they could have solved it for themselves), it's about time we started showing children a wider range of options they have in life.
On a related note, I volunteer for Young Rewired State over the summer holidays, it's a fantastic organisation who have set out to bring coding to the kids and when you see how many incredibly talented young people there are out there, who are almost all entirely self taught because their school's don't offer courses and who only get to meet other young coders at this event each year, you can see that change is already happening, whether Gove stands up and preaches buzz words or not. Check them out: https://youngrewiredstate.org/
With the world going towards apps on devices, my school has requested I look at making an app,
I think our school has a good idea about IT, we have a teacher who does all the IT lessons and does a mixture of office teaching and a bit of everything else. The year 4's are learning how to use Scratch at the moment.
I'm in the "can code - can't be asked to" club. While I agree coding is a useful skill that should be introduced at school, I personally feel that Gove's approach is to over emphises one headline grabbing area of a subject he know nothing about. Seriously, there's no reason to make coding a statatory requirement for 5 year olds who really should be spending the majority of their time honing their maths and english skills. Besides, as I've argued in the past, ICT is a much broader subject than coding on hand and powerpoint on the other. There's other whole more interesting area of IT that deserve a little more focus (although if I remember these discussions from the past, are actually included in extrememly small doses in the new curriculum).
At primary level this is just one more destraction to the list that is causing secondary teachers to complain at the general english and maths abilities of incoming year 7 pupils. At secondary level it should be a much smaller part of a much wider ICT curriculum.
Just my 2c
Thinking about the conclusion of the thread I started on this very topic a little while ago, I believe that's where we got to in the end: we couldn't ultimately agree on precisely what "coding" means to the body of us (i.e. say, the majority) as IT pros ourselves, so what chance would Gove and other policy-makers have?
Depending on how you define it, "coding" could be seen as absolutely fundamental to computing. By other definitions, however - such as mine, which calls it a synonym for "software development" - it isn't. Consequently, how this policy is gone about will vary and will depend on the individual parties implementing and advising on it.
I can imagine. It's because I'm defining it as a process rather than the way the OED describes it (which would include setting up a rule on Outlook as "programming"). We'll all have these built-in ideas based on our previous experience and I don't think any of them can be said to be Right or Wrong. In my case, for example, when I think of a "coder", I'm put in mind of a software/web developer whose day job is to create/develop executable programs or web apps. I'm not put in mind of a sysadmin who scripts up bulk operations to save themselves time or automate things for users (as I do, for example). I don't think there's any easy way to explain why I get that feeling, I just do - as will be the same for yourself and for many others.
But then, what exactly did we expect in a field with so little in the way of regulation?
As an ex-coder, I feel pessimistic about their chances of getting a coding job when they're older, but I think the problem-solving skills will stand them in good stead. It's a great chance for them to develop robust, creative methods of approaching things that they have absolutely no idea of how to do. "Let's try this.... oh, it didn't work, can we change it to make it work...." rather than "I can't do it".
But there are 2 ways to look at this.
One is that if you understand, at how ever basic a level, how something works or the thought behind it that you can use it/learn it better. That is why art lessons teach colour theory, perspectives, complementary colours. Having a basic understanding will help. Having the logic and understanding of what is under the hood helps to form a mental picture. Before you say it, no they will not need to learn how to program office to use it but it is a teaching method. Teaching basic theory of mechanics does help you drive better as you understand the forces acting on the car, what happens when you do certain things etc.
The second is why do we not extrapolate this idea to all the other lessons. Not everyone goes abroad so why teach languages? We don't need to understand the reproductive cycle or how genetics works to procreate, how our bodies work to live, how atoms interact for the world to keep going, so why teach science? History has all ready happened so no point with that, only a few people will be historians. Only so many people can be boat captains or pilots so no need for much geography. Etc etc etc etc.
Do we really want our nation to be a nation of Users? Or a nation of thinkers and understanders.
Thing is 'software usage skills' get taught anyway, regardless of it being a curriculum subject or not. Pupils use these pieces of software in other lessons - science and maths do spreadsheet work, English uses word processors, geography/history have their presentations etc...
The point is there is no need for these to be a discreet subject, taught alone.
Whereas, computing is a discreet subject.
This isn't about nations, it's about the majority versus the minority of people and the respective priorities for their needs.
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