The British Columbia government will soon require K-12 schools to introduce a new type of literacy into schools:  computer coding.  The B.C. government seeks to expand the school curriculum in order to address a talent shortage that is being caused by the impact of smart technologies on all sectors of the economy.  It is estimated that by the time this year’s Grade 12 students graduate university, there will be nearly 200,000 information/communication/technology positions unfilled.

My guess is that the Ontario government will follow the lead of the B.C. government.  The need to boost innovation and plant seeds to grow technology start-ups is self-evident. Technology has altered the way we live our lives and communicate daily; it’s hard not to see how cloud computing, apps, and mobile devices are transforming the way we do business and impacting future employment possibilities.

TanenbaumCHAT is not waiting for the Ontario Ministry to mandate new standards in mathematics, science and technology.  We are leading the way in advancing an innovation agenda. That is what’s driving this year’s robotics program and the engineering academy that will open next year.  It is also what’s driving several grassroots coding initiatives beyond our technology and computer science classes.  We want students to understand that coding is what makes it possible to create computer software, apps and websites. More generally, we want to sharpen students’ abilities to solve problems and think creatively; coding helps do that.

In the upcoming weeks, one of our communications technology teachers, Sharon Harding, will pilot “an hour of code” at TCW.  “Very few of our students know what coding really is and have never tried to code themselves,” Ms. Harding stated.  “An ‘hour of code’ is a way to increase student awareness and to try out some basic programming.”

I asked some of our more experienced students what they thought about coding. “I love coding. I use it to help learn algorithms and problem solving skills,” remarked grade 10 student Effie Mincer.  Seth Damiani, also in grade 10, echoed these sentiments.  “I have been coding since I was 10 and I love it. It uses math as well, and I know it will help me in the future.”

In this past Sunday’s Globe and Mail,Tobi Lutke, chief executive officer of Ottawa-based startup Shopify Inc., explained the need for widespread computer literacy in our evolving economy:

There is a reason why almost all entrepreneurs are ‘techies’ these days – they are the only ones that can teach computers new things….Essentially every company in the world is either turning into a software company or is in the process of dying because of a software company.  In this great reshuffling of the business world….whoever figures out how to teach computer literacy first will have by far the most prepared workforce.

We at TanenbaumCHAT strive to be the first to figure it out and lead the way.

Read the Globe and Mail article at

(http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/bc-government-adds-computer-coding-to-school-curriculum/article28234097).

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