ComputerXplorers to Introduce Annual Programming for Primaries Awareness Week
‘Year 8 is too late’ is the clear message when it comes to inspiring and encouraging children to learn programming and coding skills, which is why ComputerXplorers has earmarked 24 – 28 March 2014 to be the date for the first Programming for Primaries week to raise awareness of the issue.
The aim of the week is to shine the spotlight on programming and coding support and resources that are available to children and teachers in primary schools.
Microsoft Partners in Learning is one of the first organisations to support Programming for Primaries and ComputerXplorers expects more to follow.
ComputerXplorers has pioneered the introduction of programming classes for primary school children and pre-schoolers. Since 2006 the company’s programming and coding classes have inspired children to develop and broaden their computing skills alongside a wide range of technology classes from 3D animation and modelling to Minecraft and web design – all with computational thinking, creativity and critical thinking at their core.
Explained Nigel Toplis, managing director of ComputerXplorers: “By the time they arrive at secondary school too many children have already decided that computing is not for them. Whether that self-selection is as a result of gender, economics, interest level or lack of exposure to inspiring opportunities, they miss out.
“It is vital to engage and inspire children at a much younger age. In spite of some progress in recent years too many children never grasp those vital skills that enable them to become creators and not just consumers of technology and set them on a path of great career options. Those children will forever be on the wrong side of the digital divide.
“We share the belief that computer skills are central to economic progress at an individual level as well as at a national level. Those skills are just as valuable to children who go on to work outside of the technology sector as they are to children aspiring to be the next Mark Zuckerberg.”
Added Steve Beswick, Microsoft’s senior director, education: “Having an idea and bringing it to life for the first time on screen is a really powerful experience for young people. Through programmes like Kodu, which helps children learn to code by building games, we can give them the skills to create anything they can imagine. At Microsoft, we do everything we can to support people taking that important first step towards realising their potential.”
The UK Government’s revised national computing curriculum for 2014 puts significant emphasis on teaching children how to write code. Pupils aged five to seven will be expected to “understand what algorithms are” and to “create and debug simple programs”. By the age of 11, pupils will have to “design, use and evaluate computational abstractions that model the state and behaviour of real-world problems and physical systems”.
Most experts now agree that learning to code or program is a vital ingredient for future success. Programming skills are rapidly changing our world, but more importantly learning to program teaches a child to think differently, express creativity and feel empowered.
Continued Mr Toplis: “It may be a challenge for non specialist teachers in the Primary sector to deliver the new curriculum for computing and know where to go to find resources. The support is out there from a broad cross-section of the community. We hope Programming for Primaries Week will provide a platform for like minded organisations to communicate the benefits of programming for younger children and help make teachers more aware of the rich seam of resources that are available for primary and pre-schools.”
Among the activities planned for Programming for Primaries Week are free regional programming workshops either for teachers or for children.
For more information on the Programming for Primaries week and details on how you can become involved or for details on the free regional workshops for teachers or children please contact Sandra Fitzgerald from ComputerXplorers at firstname.lastname@example.org.