3 Ways to Spark Student Interest in Coding

As Canada’s workforce is evolving and becoming increasingly digitalized, the skillsets needed to compete in a global economy are evolving as well. Close to 90 per cent of jobs now require basic information, communications and technology (ICT) skills, yet there’s a chronic shortage of skills in the Canadian tech sector. One study predicts that Canada will be short 180,000 ICT workers by 2019.

Coding is increasingly viewed as the next language for the next generation of workers. As schools begin integrating coding into their curriculum, here are three ways to spark your child’s interest in programming.

 
  1. Encourage exploration. Give your child enough room to play and explore on their own. The process of discovery is a core component of a coder’s world. Encourage your child to experiment with different tools to find one that ties into their interests. It’s as much about the journey as the outcome.

  2. Foster creativity. Programming is just as much about being creative as using their STEM skills. Programmers like to solve common problems or address previously unfulfilled gaps. Encourage students to be curious. Push them to learn how things work and find creative solutions to problems.

  3. Connect them with made-for-kids tutorials and programming languages. Coding is a world of discovery and collaboration, and there’s a plethora of resources out there to help students navigate through the world of programming, including:
    • Scratch: a free visual programming language developed at MIT for kids
    • Tynker: a creative platform for kids to learn how to program and build games, apps and more
    • Alice: a free and open source 3D programming tool designed to teach students to learn how to code
 
Did you know?
The Learning Partnership launched a new program, Coding Quest, aimed at building fundamental coding skills among Grades 4, 5 and 6 students. The program piloted in 2016 in the Greater Toronto Area, where more than 150 teachers delivered the program to over 4,500 students.
 
These tips are provided by education experts at The Learning Partnership – a national, charitable organization dedicated to advancing publicly funded education, in part, through its innoative student programs and initiatives, including Coding Quest.

For additional information, contact:

Bernadette Celis-Clarke
(416) 440-5124

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Expert available for interviews:
           
Jan Courtin
Director, National Programs

Jan Courtin holds a M.Ed., a B.A., and a Supervisory Officer’s Certificate. Fully committed to public education, Jan’s long-standing educational career is founded within Ontario’s Peel District School Board (PDSB) through a number of senior leadership roles including Superintendent of Education, 21st Century Committee Co-Chair and secondary school Principal. She is an advocate for community engagement and mental health education, and has strong experience in shaping rich professional development for teachers that reflect 21st Century teaching and learning and enhanced global awareness.