School based ICT within the UK has mostly consisted of learning the basics of Word, clip art and web research, obviously a ‘riveting’ lesson that kids can’t wait to attend… All this is slowly changing following the likes of Coderdojos and recent release of the Codecademy– an internet based coding tutorial programme.
ICT in education desperately needs to be brought into the 21st century- if a small number of schools dip their toe into the coding pool it might impact the way young people are taught in the future and even influence a new generation of web developers, programmers and designers.
This is exactly what one primary school in central London is trying to do by shifting the focus of technology in their syllabus, teaching 240 pupils aged five to 11 how to code.
30 Raspberry Pi‘s and Lego WeDo crocodiles were given to the school, and the kids were taught to use MIT’s Scratch programming language to make “Scratch the Cat” move around their computer screens with simple coding commands- a far cry from trawling through clip art for an image. Then, building on their newly acquired skills they were able to program a motion sensing Lego WeDo crocodile to bite down on their finger when placed in the croc’s mouth. Clearly building computer games and toys will have more of an impact on childrens desire to learn how to do more and ultimately code more. The future of Computer games, apps and software is dependent on the next generation of developers; educators need to support and facilitate this.