During the course of the last few years, STEM fields have slowly moved towards the apex of academic desirability. Even employers not working directly within these areas highly value the skills associated with STEM, with 62% prizing programming skills and 71% valuing problem solving. This means that, for both today’s students and their teachers, there is a real onus when it comes to the acquisition of STEM. But how do you make these traditionally thorny subjects accessible to all pupils? How do you entice the reluctant scholar into the educational territory that they may once have been able to avoid?
Although the new Computing curriculum was transformed to become more relevant to 21st century students, learning to code and create on the web is still generally perceived as being ‘difficult’ and ‘dull’. It’s considered to be more appealing to students who are better at Maths and Science, and not those with an interest in languages and the arts.
As technological advances are racing in what some believe to be the 4th industrial revolution, they open the door to the most innovative educational technology (edtech), and the Bett Show was an impressive demonstration of this.
Nesta, in partnership with Tata group and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), are calling on both students and teachers to transform the way they think about Maths. Inspired by The Crystal Maze and growth of ‘escape rooms’, the the innovation foundation have launched the Cracking the Code challenge for 11 to 14 year olds across the country to create their own escape room.
As I write this, making my way back from this year’s Bett Show, my train journey is the perfect time to take stock, relax, and think about all of the things I’ve seen this weekend.
Here at The Kindergarten Starters in Dubai, we recently ran a collaborative venture with Laurus International School of Science in Tokyo, leading to a change in the way our students learn. Over a period of one month, both schools created storyboards. We used the Lego story starters and Scratch Junior to help construct these stories they told. The written outcomes were quite alike, but the engagement of four and five year olds as they learned to code made us adopt an exciting new approach: to begin coding in kindergarten.
Coding has been around for a while now, yet how far have we really come in terms of teaching and learning? There still appears to be a certain nervousness among teachers when incorporating it into lessons, perhaps stemming from a lack of knowledge, skills or resources. Despite this, with a little time and practise, coding can be quite an easy task to weave into classroom activities. So let’s explore how teachers can get to grips with coding in the classroom, regardless of experience or the subjects that are taught.
In a bid to get Primary pupils more immersed in coding, multi-award-winning edutainers Busy Things have unleashed Busy Code. This new suite of resources brings teacher confidence and pupil engagement by introducing a funky, bearded man into the classroom. This captivating character can be programmed to dance, collect stars and lots more. What’s more, Innovate My School readers have exclusive free access until 9th February!
Coding now accounts for half of all Primary Computing, but delivering it can be daunting, even for the most tech-savvy teachers. Discovery Education Coding is a complete resource, helping teachers to meet every aspect of this challenging curriculum area. Over 2.5 million apps have been coded by pupils using the service. Let’s see how teachers use it to make an impact right across the curriculum.