Teaching kids to code

18 Jul 2014
Teaching kids to code

The way computing is being taught in schools puts a new emphasis on coding, but are students and schools ready? Here's how to teach your children to code

The way that schools teach IT skills is changing, and changing fast. In January 2012, education secretary Michael Gove announced that he was scrapping the existing ICT curriculum in favour of new courses in computer science.

“Instead of children bored out of their minds being taught how to use Word and Excel by bored teachers,” he said, “we could have 11-year-olds able to write simple 2D computer animations using an MIT tool called Scratch.”

In September 2014 that becomes a reality, but the first few years of this new scheme look set to be a rollercoaster ride. Teachers we’ve spoken to don’t believe they’ve been given enough support by the government to teach coding with confidence, and question marks remain over the balance betw+een coding and teaching students how to use software.

This feature has two aims: first to inspire parents, grandparents, teachers and students alike as we provide introductions to three ways to learn code – not only through Scratch, but also by building robots using Lego Mindstorms and having a play with BBC BASIC.

The second aim is to look behind the controversial headlines caused by Gove’s plans and see what schools are hoping to do when September rolls around.

Whether you have children or grandchildren in school, or perhaps you’re a student yourself, it’s important information to get to grips with as Britain gears up to be a coding powerhouse once again.

Teaching kids to code

What's changing in the computing curriculum

Teaching kids to code in Scratch

Teaching kids to code with BBC Basic

Teaching kids to code with Lego Mindstorms

Other resources for learning to code

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Analysis