Tech education has long been part of the school curriculum. However, in recent years there has been more emphasis placed on providing a specific kind of technological education to children. In 2014, coding was introduced to the national curriculum – a part of tech education now taught to children as young as five years old. But why did this happen?
Well, firstly, it’s happened because technology has changed. The past decade has seen technology evolve dramatically, taking a central role in all of our lives. For example, ten years ago, social media apps such as Instagram and Twitter didn’t exist, Apple hadn’t released their first iPhone and chip and Pin payments were only just entering shops.
Therefore, a shift in the kind of technology we produce and rely on every day has caused governments and educational providers to reassess the content of children’s formal technological education, as well as the kind of teaching resources (like these from Hope Education) educators need to teach effectively.
Also, major technological companies have been making it clear that Europe doesn’t currently produce enough workers to fill vacancies in the technological sector. Therefore, the government has been attempting to fill a ‘skills gap’ by changing the content of curriculums, with the assistance of entities like Microsoft and Google to help shape and direct the type of tech education in schools. Helpfully, companies such as Samsung have been providing Digital Classrooms and Digital Academies to train young people for employment too.
Michael Gove (the Education Secretary at the time that ‘coding’ was introduced to the classroom) explained the change the Guardian by observing that “ICT used to focus purely on computer literacy – teaching pupils, over and over again, how to word-process, how to work a spreadsheet, how to use programs already creaking into obsolescence; about as much use as teaching children to send a telex or travel in a zeppelin”.
Instead, the focus has now been shifted to teach, “computer science, information technology and digital literacy: teaching [kids] how to code, and how to create their own programs; not just how to work a computer, but how a computer works and how to make it work for [them]”. So, what’s the result of this sudden boom in tech education in schools?
Well, first and foremost, children are learning vital skills and are becoming digitally literate, meaning that they’ll be able to take jobs in technology as adults.
Secondly (and just as importantly) refreshed tech education in school is providing children with excellent thinking skills. Coding and other parts of the tech education’s syllabus encourage problem solving skills, logic, maths and creativity: talents that will be essential for their personal and professional lives as adults whether they enter the tech sector or not.
Finally, many children enjoy coding and report that they find it fun, and even those who don’t enjoy it will find that the lessons they learn and the way they’re taught to think will prove invaluable for their future. With technological change and innovation happening every single day, the shake up we’ve seen in tech education will mean our children are able to use and improve the connected world in the future.