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[Thought] Why everyone should learn to code

Updated: Mar 22, 2021

This is the article that I wrote last year(2018) when I started to work at THS. It talks about the coding learning.

I’m sure most of you must have heard or read that coding is the “must-have” skill of the future. But perhaps you’ve doubted the value and wisdom of such published advice and you might have asked yourself, “What is the point of getting kids to code? Is it simply hype? Is it just another fad?”

I can understand why some parents would be wary of yet another education-related hype. However, I’m here to tell you that while the hysteria around the code rant might not be appreciated, the importance of having today’s students learn to code is certainly not exaggerated in the least.

Before I delve into the why, let’s first put some clarity around what is coding. In simple terms, coding is telling computers what to do. A computer is an empty shell without first being loaded with directions. People code in programming languages. You might have heard of a few. They have fancy names like HTML, Python, JavaScript, C++, Ruby....there are over 2000 programming languages created for different purposes. But don’t panic - we don’t have to learn them all. Learning a new language can be intimidating so for most students, we start with block programming, basic HTML and CSS to dip their toes.

Here’s why

So why should students learn to code? After-all, not every child will want to become computer experts in the future.

Firstly, coding helps our students understand the changing world better. We are in a fast-changing world where new technologies are introduced daily and everyone is interacting with multiple devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops with the Internet on tap. With coding knowledge, one can not only comprehend how computers and networks work, one can change the way one interacts with digital devices. Learning to code is not about mastering a skill for any one profession. It’s about understanding the basics of the evolving world around you which will become increasingly digital.

Secondly, coding fosters creativity and rewarding. Kids can build digital animations, video games or even their own apps. It all becomes possible with coding. While it can be hard work to learn to code, the results can be very rewarding as was described in Mr Barnett’s blog last week.

And finally, coding is empowering. As we talked before, kids can use their skills in coding for different projects. It encourages kids to create digital media and technology with their creativity. When kids code, they are able to break complex problems into smaller parts to solve them. It’s yet another way to develop problem-solving skills.

So with these benefits in mind, we have rolled out a new curriculum to teach coding to upper primary and middle school kids this year.

  • G3 - students will start their coding journey on to know the basic concepts of block coding by making animations and simple games.

  • G4 - Students in G4 will challenge themselves with circuit playground by making lighting signs for Earth Hour, an annual global effort on March 30, 2019. These projects are designed to address environmental issues. Students will learn coding while connecting it with real life issues.

  • G5 - our G5 students get to develop something cool - their own video games. They can create their own maze and space invasion games.

  • G6 - G6 students will have the coding course provided by Google CS First in the beginning as the appetizer. Later in the year, they’ll code their own apps on Thunkable. This level of skill acquired gives students the step up needed to explore more coding options.

  • G7 and G8 - This year, our middle school students will begin a fun course on text-based coding languages, such as HTML, JavaScript and CSS. By learning these programming languages, they’ll be able to make digital posters, games and their own websites.

Sounds exciting? We developed this curriculum not only for our students to have the coding skills needed in their tool belt but also be able to connect their learning with purpose. Most importantly, we want them to enjoy their learning.

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