Coding in the classroom has been added to the curriculum recently, as reported in the media but at Boundary Oak School pupils are in the second year of getting familiar with coding, which was added to our curriculum during last year. Coding Club is now a popular co-curricular club where pupils have the opportunity to spend even more time dedicated to code. Animation Club has also become another computing addition to the timetable.
James Polansky, Co-proprietor and Deputy Head runs the Coding Club along with Year 6/7 pupils Jack L and James H. As a school, is it our view that the earlier children are introduced to coding, the more comfortable they will be when presented with more in-depth learning opportunities as they continue through their educational journey. Also, early experience of coding helps children to understand how computers work and how valuable they are rather than merely fun playthings.
Even if a classroom isn’t full of future computer programmers, learning the fundamentals of coding provides pupils with skills that will serve them well in virtually any career they choose.
Understanding computer code is an important part of what makes us literate in today’s technology. It involves dividing up a task into its most basic pieces and then putting them together in a logical order. This analytical thinking process has lots of real world applications.
As parents, you may be surprised when your child comes homes from school talking about algorithms, debugging and Boolean logic. But, code is everywhere – It’s a form of vital communication and not just in computers. It’s in your phone, it’s in your car, it’s in the cards we carry in our wallets and it’s how we communicate in today’s modern world. If children learn to code, they will understand the language that is shaping their future.
At a time when most young children can already navigate throughout website and apps, why shouldn’t we be teaching them how the Internet works or how to program a computer? We teach children long division or how weather works because these are relevant, foundational concepts. So is coding. In the tech world coding is often referred to as the ‘third language’ providing another means of communication outside of written and oral language skills. It has the potential to make young people better writer and communicators.
At Boundary Oak coding lessons extend beyond the ICT suite; building apps or games is far more engaging than arithmetic yet these activities all teach the same concepts. Junior pupils can learn about angles as they work on animation, not just through textbook questions.
Pupils at Boundary Oak School are also taught the importance of computer and Internet safety, as well as how search engines work to ensure their online experience is a safe one .
Computer programmes are replacing jobs. For pupils to succeed in life, coding not only puts them in a better position creatively but also puts them in a more elevated position to start their own business or succeed in their career.
James Polansky said: ‘Children want to learn how to code. It empowers them. It gives them control of their computer or tablet and their learning. They decide what their app or games will do and more often than not they teach themselves or each other. Coding creates life-long learners and the pupils all think it’s cool.’
And while being ‘cool’ is what some prep school age children may want at times, what really matters are building skill sets that have lasting benefits such as logical thinking, problem solving, persistence, teamwork and communication.
Teaching young learners how to code will help change the paradigm of children, and ultimately adults, from being technology consumers to technology producers. The importance of teaching students to communicate by listening and speaking is clear, and we go to great lengths to teach reading and writing. Now, in an increasingly digital world, we should ensure that our pupils have experience using and making programmes.
‘For most of them, coding is an entirely new experience; something they’ve never done before… it’s great to see them enjoying themselves but also watching as they start to see the computers that they are so used to playing minecraft or roblox on in a different way.’ said James
‘There aren’t many subjects where pupils sign up to learn in their spare time. Coding and Coding Club are on course to be our most popular subject and club. It is this passion could that may be the one that produces the next Google or Facebook.’