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Pupils set for coding and app lessons

The BBC reported this week that ‘School ICT’ lessons are to be replaced by Computer Science Programme.

If you read past the horribly antiquated term, which brings to mind men in white coats with punch cards surrounding a computer attached to a dot-matrix printer, the proposal is surprisingly hopeful, although belated.

Michael Gove is pushing this forward to enable young people to be able to ‘work at the forefront of technological change,’ an idea that ROD have been pushing for a while, as we’ve blogged about here and here.

So from this announcement think less ‘computer science’ and more teaching on coding, apps, programming, cloud, platforms and social integration.

The BBC reports that: Computer games entrepreneur Ian Livingstone, an adviser to Mr Gove, envisages a new curriculum that could have 16-year-olds creating their own apps for smartphones and 18-year-olds able to write their own simple programming language.

ROD knows that some 18-year olds are already able to code and indeed change the face of computing. Take for example the legendary Steve Wozniak of Apple fame, who dropped out of University to work on the first Apple computer in Steve Jobs’s garage; or his Silicon Valley colleague Mark Zuckerberg who developed ‘The Facebook’ whilst at University.

The hope from this great news is that the next generation of Wozniaks, Zucerkbergs and Benioffs will stem from the UK; that companies (start-ups and established firms) will be able to hire a crop of trained and able young talent fresh from school, college or university.

Teaching in IT shouldn’t be restricted to IT lessons, all lessons should be using apps, tablets and new technologies as part of a wider integrated IT approach.

We predict a new breed of start-up, that focuses on producing materials and apps for the education market; even down to publishing firms making interactive text books available for tablets – giving rapid and automated feedback to students as they learn and pushing notifications to them as they study.

Our wish for schools is that they draft-in existing skills from the corporate environment in order to best facilitate ‘computer lessons’ for students. Not all IT teachers will be able to code or build an app, but to explore creative potential in students the schools should look outside of their walls and even consider work placements with start-ups; extra-curricular classes in smart phone app development; weekend hackathons; partnerships with tech firms and training in new technologies such as HTML5 and the salesforce.com platform.

We await the implementation of this education drive and look forward to welcome the next breed of developers and programmers to the cloud eco-system.