Australia will begin teaching coding from the 5th grade

Seeking to future-proof its next generation of young people, Australia’s public school system will begin teaching students computer coding as early as in their 5th year of primary school, with full-blown programming set to begin from year 7.According to The Australian, the new curriculum was approved by the now former Education Minister Christopher Pyne prior to being sworn into his new role as Minister for Industry, Innovation, and Science.Like many developed nations in the “western world,” a greater emphasis is being placed on a STEM education — science, technology, education, math — to prepare students for livelihoods that are increasingly dependent on digital literacy and informatics, skills that could accelerate or hamper future economic growth.”High quality school STEM education is critically important for Australia’s productivity and economy wellbeing, both now and into the future,” states Pyne in a statement. To kick off the initiative, A$12 million is being allocated into the development of four separate tie-in programs: an innovative math program, the introduction of computer coding, a P-TECH style school pilot, and the funding of STEM-focused summer schools for underrepresented groups. Although the number of schools that could possibly be affected by such a miniscule amount of money is questionable.Still, it’s a start. But in Europe, where it’s estimated that 900,000 new jobs in the ICT sector will need filling by 2020, the prerogative is slightly more urgent. Back in Fall 2014, England had already mandated that all children between the ages of 5 and 16 be given computer science classes in all of its national public schools.In fact, a study conducted in October 2014 (around the time England made its decree) found that 11 other countries that are beginning to include computer programming in their primary school curriculums include: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, and Portugal.As for the United States, the decision to integrate computer science into early education is currently left to the discretion of each state’s local government.Do you think this will have an effect on our ability to compete in the future? Read more here.

New York – Art Field Trip 2015

20151107_114707A big thank you to Ms. Fernie our school’s art teacher who invited myself and Mr. Bilous (our school graphic arts teacher) to act as supervisors on a recent trip to New York city she organized. We toured Manhattan and visited many New York landmarks. See some of the great photos from myself or visit twitter under @SHCvisualarts or instagram under sturgeonheightsgraphics

Do we still need Computer Science teachers?

These days it seems like “how to learn coding yourself” opportunities are everywhere. There are MOOCs from major universities, code.org has great online tutorials, Facebook just opened a website called TechPrep to help parents and students alike find resources and tools, and there seems to be a new edtech company starting up every week with online CS resources. The question for many becomes “do we still need computer science teachers?” The CSTA (Computer Science Teachers Association) Research Committee has been analyzing the High School survey results from May and below are some of the highlights. A detailed Summary of Results is available on our website.

  • 51% of the survey respondents have computer science teaching experience of 15 years or more
  • 45% of the teachers reported that computer science courses make up 50-75% of their teaching load.
  • 66% of the teachers reported that they are offering a CS principals course
  • 79% of the teachers reported that they offer the APCS A course.
  • 68% of those who offer APCS A course reported that half of their course enrollment are female, and between 20-40% are underrepresented minorities.
  • Majority of the teachers (68%) also reported that CS enrollment has increased in the past 3 years

These statistics are encouraging for the outlook of CS education and what is going on in the High Schools at this time. However, this data is self-reported and we need to examine ways to triangulate the numbers, especially the APCS-A enrollment numbers

Source: The CSTA Advocate Blog