The digital economy relies on more technologically equipped students. It’s a certainty – the Australian and global economies need more digital natives who are fluent in the language of digital business. We need more emphasis in STEM-related programs, especially with news recently showing high school IT enrolments are dropping.
A key to this revolution lies in coding. Tools such as Code Academy have done a good job of introducing people with no coding experience to the idea of using programming languages, while there have already been some efforts in teaching kids how to program using colourful robots.
New businesses are taking up this challenge consistently. A new effort from Code.org is targeted squarely at young children, and teaches them how to become familiar with tools like Python and Java – except not in the way you might think.
The site’s new tool, Code Studio, is designed for kids in Kindergarten through high school interested in coding – but it teaches them underlying principles of coding rather than the nuts and bolts of the procedure.
Through lesson plans, students are taught by using logic sequences, which when placed in a particular order, move characters on the screen – they might move in a certain way, for instance. The idea is to not necessarily communicate the nuts and bolts of coding but rather the logic needed in order to make things happen.
Whether or not the method works, the crux of the move is crucial – to have young people from an early stage start thinking about how the innards of technological innovation works – and to start recognising the importance of how this type of programming works.
The goal is not to have every child fluent in the language of making things work in tech – but to make them understand the importance of programming, coding and the building blocks of the future. Recognising the importance of those languages will in turn lead to businesses, organisations and governments which have a greater understanding and appreciation of the building blocks of a digital economy.