In the news this week:
“As programming, computing and technology skills become part of the essential skill sets for school leavers, demand for teaching in these areas is taking off.
But the Department of Education has closed the MacICT Innovation Centre, its unique 15-year-old joint venture with Macquarie University that has been a pioneer in the area.”
The enrolments in this advanced computer programming have seriously declined since they began – from 10,779 in 2001 to 2855 this year – leading the department to sever ties with MacQuarie University and bring the program in-house, and presumably to down-size at the same time.
Why should you care?
We should be concerned about this, not as an isolated incident, that is likely driven by budgets and economic decisions, but our concern should be that might become a trend.
The above Sydney Morning Herald article suggests that a lack of trained teachers is a major cause of the lower enrolments in the MacICT program. If that’s the case it means that our children in schools today aren’t getting the exposure to digital coding and skills that might trigger interest.
It’s as if our kids aren’t getting the right experiences that expose them to the possibilities that these skills might bring them.
Learning how to code isn’t about developing a generation of coding gurus that can take the world by storm. It’s actually much, much bigger than that!
- Coding helps us see how computers work.
- Coding shows us that there are possibilities for computing that we have yet to explore
- Coding gives us the chance to explore, fix and re-build software and apps that meet our specific needs
- Coding also provides a framework for developing critical thinking skills like problem-solving and systems thinking.
So if we continue to see advanced programs close, we need to ask ourselves, our local representatives and the DET what they plan to do about this! We all want our kids to be successful adults who can fully participate in the world at large.
And in today’s technology-driven world, this includes understanding how things work – through coding and programming experiences that start young and give our kids options to learn more as they grow.