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Written by Charlotte Brearley, BSD Education
What is the role of educators? Fong Ly, an educator from the US, sums it up well in his article for eSchoolNews: ‘it’s our job to figure out how to equip students with the skills they need to be well-prepared for college and careers’.
What do we know about the careers we are preparing students for? Industries are changing like never before so this is a challenging question and actually the answer is fairly unknown. But we do know that the world is digitizing and technology skills are becoming increasingly fundamental to the world of work. We also know that ‘softer skills’, often termed as 21st century skills, such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, curiosity and creativity are being held in higher regard than ever before.
Given what we know, one of the best ways teachers can help kids to prepare is to give them relevant future skills that also develop softer skills. Introducing coding to the classroom does just that. Here is how:
Frequent misconceptions of coding are: It is only for students who are good at math, want careers in technology companies or for ICT Class. Irrespective of what your interests or hobbies are, you will not only use code but also the skills and thinking that is developed through programming (like computational, design thinking, logic and reasoning skills!).
A few restaurant owners are deciding what to put on their new menu. Before they make their decision, they need to consider what customers generally purchase from their restaurant. Technology enables people to collect data to make data-driven, tactical decisions. Using the Point of Sale (POS) system, it allows the restaurant owners to see which menu items were popular among their customers. They find that the pastas were the most ordered type of food and so they start brainstorming on more pasta options, cooking and testing out which ones perform the best. This is an example of design thinking being used in daily life:
Coders may use computational and design thinking every day, but so do restaurant owners and any other person regardless of their backgrounds or industries they are in. This is why coding is the gateway to digital skills and the creation of solutions – it helps you become future-proof.
So what does more integration of technology learning in a school look like? Of course it can be an after school code club or it can fit into the computing curriculum, but at BSD Education we believe it should be present in all subjects. Not every student will sign up for a code club or computing course so not all students are given the opportunity to develop these skills. However, by bringing technology projects into all subjects we align these vital skills with the interests of all students thereby helping to prepare them for their future. The subject becomes the context and the projects create a more engaging way for students to either learn the concepts of the subject, or become a content vessel to present what they are learning in the class.
Fong Ly and his school, Amana Academy, have the same ethos. He shares their approach to their curriculum in his article – it is ‘based on an expeditionary learning framework, meaning that teachers develop curriculum that involves all content areas and encourages collaboration across subjects. This means we’re training multiple skills at the same time. We identified that coding was a great asset that could be integrated into all subjects…’ Find out more about Long Fy’s approach here. Students can use it and benefit from it at school, home and in daily life, even after their formal education and into their workspaces.
Are you bringing technology projects into a range of subjects at your school? Tell us more by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org and have a chance to be featured in one of our newsletters!
Interested in learning bringing coding into your classrooms? Reach out to us here.