Programming in School Curricula

Full Length CBC Documentary: Code Kids by FYA.tv

By Marwa Kotb

Introducing Programming or coding concepts in elementary schools is one of issues that I am convinced and willing to volunteer to watch it happening soon. Coding is not currently in the B.C. curriculum, but I heard over the radio that they are planning to integrate it within the new curriculum. I have been teaching programming lab for years and I think that introducing programming at earlier stages can reduce the number of dropouts in computer science major. A lot of students don’t have enough background on coding, when I have chat with them why they joined computer science major, the common replies are that they love technology and games, they will get a promising future when they graduate, it is a growing sector in job market. That’s a good motive to join computer science major but never enough to survive the stress and effort to success.I don’t blame them as they don’t know enough about the science behind developing software.

Most of the students had some previous experience creating websites and simple games in secondary school stage but still few can understand that programming isn’t the same as using technology. They can’t imagine how it is like is to study computer science. They get surprised that the knowledge that some worked long to attain from various resources before joining college is only linked to lectures of the first week of an introduction to programming course. And to keep with the field update they get introduced to more concepts at a fast speed that they are unable to absorb and they are asked to integrate in projects and real life applications. I saw this scene for years when students decide to dropout course and give up and leave to another major they are familiar with.

Teaching computer programming concepts such as logic concepts, syntax, the language interface, algorithms, flowcharts, and pseudo code no matter which programming language to use for implementation, could help students learn about computer science and reduce the levels of stress and frustration if they decided to join computer science major.

There are plenty of materials and tools that are available online for kids such as Code Studio , Scratch ,and  hour of code, most of these languages are free visual programming languages, they have a good GUI (Graphical User Interface) that kids will like, and it is easy to train teachers to teach them, and there are plenty of advocates  such as CodeKids supporting teaching coding in elementary stage. I hope to see more programmer kids and more schools around Canada integrating programming in their curricula soon.

References:

  • FYA.tv. (2014,December 4). Full Length CBC Documentary: Code Kids [Video File]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6JGy8zmskbM&feature=youtu.be

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