We live in a world perceived and understood through technology, with digital devices everywhere. While computer science and coding were once seen as uninspiring specialist areas, this is no longer the case, and nothing demonstrates this better than the new Australian Digital Technologies Curriculum, which will see students starting coding studies as early as Year 5, and learning to program by Year 7.
What does computing cover?
Coding and computing provide kids with an understanding of the technology of modern life, covering not only how computers and computer systems work, but also how they are designed and programmed.
It may sound complex for small children to learn, but kids come into school with a sophisticated understanding of technology – something you will have seen for yourself at home, as they use your tablet and phone. It is just this comfort around tech that makes kids (with typical fearlessness) eager to tackle computing concepts and respond positively.
Coding is also a creative outlet, encouraging ingenuity and invention. Both playful and challenging, it teaches kids how to identify and solve problems, while having a chance to build a 'product' they can instantly see working.
Why are computing and coding being embedded in the Australian curriculum?
Coding is now being recognised as a vital part of the literacy of the 21st century – a global language that all young Australians should have the opportunity to learn. The confidence, self-reliance, and logical reasoning skills it teaches are not just relevant to computing, but to all areas of education and, most importantly, to your child's future career. According to experts, 75 per cent of fast-growing occupations will require STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills. In our rapidly changing economy, where digital proficiency will increasingly determine employment prospects and opportunity, it is more important than ever to equip students with the skills to understand and shape the role of digital systems in their current and future world.
Finally, how can you help your kids?
It's easy to support your kids at home and also learn a little about coding yourself. You can do this online through MIT, which includes parents’ guides and information on how to get started. DK's resources, including Computer Coding for Kids, Computer Coding Projects for Kids and Coding Games with Scratch Made Easy,provide simple steps to becoming an expert coder, while DK's Computer Coding FAQ page includes links to download Scratch and Python for free.