When you think of an industry that only continues to get larger, one that is only going to be more important in the future, what do you think of?
While some might say the medical field, and they are correct, I'm thinking more in terms of technology. Think about how rapidly technology has advanced in just the past decade.
Did you imagine you'd really be able to purchase a watch that doubles as a phone, or that your hands could move through the air to change the channel on television? Computers have transformed from desktop to laptop to netbook to smartphone, seemingly at the speed of light.
So it stands to reason that technology-based employment is, and will become increasingly, lucrative. So is it time to bring more technologically focused classes to our schools? Yes!
Code Club is just the thing to excite children about the important job of coding, once considered boring and nerdy. Well, I guess it's still considered boring and nerdy, but since nerdy is “in” right now, it's the perfect time for coding to rise to the forefront of the educational system.
What's Code Club?
It's a network of after-school clubs for kids aged 9-11 all across the United Kingdom where children spend their time coding. Volunteers help guide the kids through the process of making things like websites or computer games for about an hour each week. The club, founded by Clare Sutcliffe and Linda Sandvik in April of 2012, was created in order to introduce children to the wonderful world of coding. Their mission is to bring this club to every school in the UK (which is more than 21,000 in number!) Currently, there are about 2,000 Code Clubs throughout the UK.
People in the technology field see the value of a program like this, even Google. The tech giant has given the organization a ВЈ120,000 grant to help them launch what they are calling Code Club Pro. It is essentially a way for the teachers within the schools to receive training so that they are better able to assist students. And that's a good thing, seeing as the government has updated the curriculum for students in primary school – these teachers will need to teach children as young as five coding skills.
Google: Bringing Technology To The Schools
Google knows that this program could be the key to increasing interest in a much needed skill within the industry. They're sinking substantial money in the UK, such as their donation of 15,000 Raspberry Pi computers to be distributed to British schools. They also provided funding for an organization called Computing at School (CAS), who is a partner with Code Club Pro.
Without Code Club Pro, none of these efforts will do much of anything. The teachers need to be ready to teach the kids how to do it, and Google is hoping the kids will become more motivated to give it a try. The teachers will take a series of online courses, and then encouraged to try to infuse computer science into as many subjects as they can.
More Than Coding
Don't think that these kids will be stuck at a computer screen the entire time. Sutcliffe indicates that there are activities teachers can employ, whether in the class or on the playground, to push the concepts rather than just spending all of their time coding. That is important, and key to creating an innovative generation of kids that will think beyond a computer screen. They will learn to work with others towards solving a problem. They will be able to decipher the technological documentation, and through the problem solving process they will be able to better plan their strategy.
This does a few important things. One of those is empowering kids to write their own software. This gets them excited, and pushes them to learn all they can about the field. But the most important has to be that kids and teachers will no longer be intimidated by technology. And teaching the teachers important coding concepts expands the Code Club program across the UK, and other countries can follow suit. It's time to build a generation of computer geeks. US, are you paying attention?