Big news today out of B.C.’s first ever Tech Summit – Premier Christy Clark has announced a plan to bring computer coding basics to school kids from kindergarten to grade 12.
Blaine Kyllo, tech observer and principal behind Solo Corps Creative, says it’s about time the government recognizes the importance of teaching tech fundamentals to the next generation.
But he says the province is working with educators, and he’s confident there will be something workable in place by next fall.
“The teachers in this province are clever enough, ambitious enough, and future thinking enough to see how you can start bringing at least the ideas and concepts around programming and coding into the classroom environment. You don’t actually have to have kids sitting down busting out C++. Coding is a way about thinking about problem solving in its basest form. It’s the logic of problem solving. All of the technical stuff comes later.”
He says what programming languages they learn won’t be so important as the underlying principles and mentality of computer coding, which will be applicable in virtually all industries of the future.
“I think it should be mandatory in the same way it’s mandatory for kids to learn how to read, to add multiply and subtract and multiply and divide. Because computers aren’t going away”
Kyllo says with the fundamentals approach, that won’t be so important at first – as kids can learn the basics with a pencil and paper.
But he says down the road, they’ll need access to real machines – and he worries about inequality between wealthy school districts where parents can afford to fund raise, and those that can’t.
Kyllo says one likely solution will be backing from the tech sector itself, which has been pushing B.C. to help fill the talent gap.
“One of the reasons we’re doing this is because of them, I think it makes sense to ask them to contriubte in some way. And I absolutely think that they will.”