My question is to the Prime Minister. In light of the Education Minister’s answer, will the Prime Minister commit to ensuring that coding is taught in every primary school in Australia; to ensure our children have the skills for the jobs of the future economy?

Let’s just understand exactly what the Leader of the Opposition has asked. He says that he wants primary school kids to be taught coding so that they can get the jobs of the future. Does he want to send them all out to work at the age of eleven? Is that what he wants to do? Is that what he wants to do? I mean, Seriously? Seriously? Seriously?

So there you have it.

Computers are ubiquitous. That means they’re everywhere, Mr Prime Minister. And yet, so few of us know how to operate them well let alone how to instruct them or create with them. We live in an environment blended between the physical and the digital and yet we aren’t prepared to teach our young people how to live their lives as empowered digital citizens.

To extend the Prime Minister’s argument, are we teaching students to read and write from kindergarten so that we can send them out to work as journalists at the age of eleven? Are we teaching them mathematics so that we can have eleven year old astrophysicists?

I mean, seriously.

Countries like the United Kingdom are leading the way in teaching computational thinking. Their relatively new curriculum teaches students computational thinking skills from the earliest years. Estonia as well. Many US states now teach programming from the beginning of schooling.

Australia has a Technologies subject as part of the national curriculum ready to go. The Technologies subject is awaiting final endorsement but has come under significant pressure from the national curriculum review and the state of NSW in particular. The subject incorporates coding but also focuses on design thinking and systems thinking in a very big way. If we want to raise a country of innovative leaders in the modern world, the Technologies subject is a very necessary step in the right direction.

In future weeks, I would like to write some blog posts on exactly why coding, and more accurately, computational thinking is necessary from the earliest years of schooling.

As always, my opinions are my own and not my employer’s.

So, what do you think? Should all students be taught coding in primary school? Is it all about the jobs or something else?

About The Author

Primary Technologies Teacher

Rob McTaggart teaches Technologies from K-6 in Newcastle, Australia. He is co-founder of the Digital Sparks regional student technology design challenge & expo. Rob is a Google for Education Certified Innovator who loves to help students to engage and create with the world using technology. He developed the RAPID Design framework to support students and teachers in these aims. Rob is a moderator for #aussieED and plays a logistics role for the team, managing the website and various channels. He is an ambassador and teacher trainer for Code Club Australia and runs a local Code Club for his students. His main gig is teaching 550 amazing kids every week which makes him a very lucky teacher!

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