While coding is currently an optional part of the school curriculum that is being implemented this school year, some teachers are already teaching coding in Burns Lake.
Coding is a hands-on way of teaching students how to analyze a problem, determine the steps to fix that problem and then create directions so a computer or machine can carry out those steps.
Whether or not students pursue careers in the technology sector, the province says these are vital critical thinking skills for future success.
Many Lakes District Secondary School (LDSS) students are already learning about coding.
“In Grade 8 we have a rotation that includes six weeks in the computer room; one portion of that involves a coding unit which introduces basic concepts of conditional statements, loops and variables,” explained LDSS teacher Jim Mellen.
According to Manu Madhok, School District No. 91’s assistant superintendent, although the majority of students that are already learning coding are in high school, some elementary school teachers have already received training.
“So we expect to see examples of coding instruction in these [elementary school] grades this school year,” he said.
In January 2017, School District No. 91 will send three teachers to a regional coding session in Prince George to learn more about coding. The teachers are expected to go back to their own communities and train their colleagues, spreading coding skills throughout the school district. This will provide teachers with the digital-literacy skills required to teach students in grades 6 to 9.
The province expects that, by the end of Grade 9, every student in British Columbia will take a module of basic coding. The province’s new applied design, skills and technologies curriculum was launched in the fall of 2015.
“Preparing our kids for their future is our most important job, and getting teachers trained to teach coding and the new curriculum is just one way we are doing that,” said minister of education Mike Bernier.