How important is computing for our UK students?

How important is computing for our students?

Thinking about the world we live in today, often children do not know what the term ‘offline’ means. Remember when we first got the internet? We had the dial up tone and if you were on the internet then it was impossible for anyone else in the house to use the telephone line at the same time. Mobile phones were owned by a select few and those that had them were carrying around a device that rivalled any house brick! Imagine a Lego brick but 100 times bigger! Sending an email for the first time was a moment of confusion, amazement and excitement. If only we knew how things were going to change.

old-phoneMobile phones are now considered compulsory with many people feeling naked without them! We are always contactable for calls, text messaging and emails. Our smart televisions can display Youtube and  all kind of shows from the internet, our watches enable us to answer our phones, our MP3 players play music we have downloaded and often allow us to send photos and receive messages, house phones are rarely used, tablets are common place and most homes have either a computer or a laptop. People want the latest brand of new technology and the day of dial up internet is long gone.

I remember when we used word documents and PowerPoints to create interesting and engaging lessons. Now we are talking about algorithms, debugging and programming.

As teachers we are expected to not only keep up with these changes but to master them to the degree that we can teach them to our students.

This is a good thing.

We would be doing our students a disservice if we did not teach them computing to this high level. Why? Because the world that our students are going to go out in is highly competitive with computers dominating most work places and places of business. As Paul Weller sang, This is the modern world and as teachers it is our job to prepare these young children so that they can achieve the best that they can.

Where does this leave us as teachers? To teach these skills we need to know these skills-indeed we need to know the curriculum that we are teaching! We need to understand this new language!  Bill Mitchell, director of education at BCS, the Chartered Institute of IT had input on designing the new curriculum and has created this guide.

http://www.computingatschool.org.uk/data/uploads/CASPrimaryComputing.pdf

He presents computing as not just learning a programme but a new, problem solving way of thinking. A transferrable skill. A skill that sometimes is better worked in theory than with computer work.

“Think about other subjects. When you learn physics, you think about physics. But when you learn computing, you’re thinking about thinking. About how thinking works. You have to try to imagine how this computer is going to do something for you. There are lots of transferable skills.” -Bill Mitchell

The article can be found here:-

http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/sep/22/computing-bcs-uk-computing-curriculum

Further links

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10410036/Teaching-our-children-to-code-a-quiet-revolution.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationopinion/10943409/The-primary-getting-kids-into-binary.html

 

What do you think about thinking?

Is this new curriculum out of step with the rest of the world?

Are we way out in front?

Or desperately catching up?

 

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