B.C. Ministry of Education promotes free, live coding workshops for children

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      In recent years, there's been a roaring debate over whether all young people need to learn how to code—and at what age.

      In some countries, like the U.K., it's been mandated in schools for years.

      In B.C., computational thinking was incorporated into the new curriculum for grades 6 and 7, which was a nod to the growing importance of the digital economy.

      Students at that level are expected to know simple algorithms, visual representations of problems and data, the evolution of programming languages, and visual programming.

      In that spirit, the Ministry of Education announced today that there will be free, live weekly online coding workshops for students who want to pick up this skill.

      They're available through B.C.'s openschool.bc.ca/keeplearning/ website.

      “With new access to live, weekly workshops from across the country through Canada Learning Code, B.C. students can expand their coding education, while learning from experts through real-time programs designed for specific age groups that will help engage young minds,” Education Minister Rob Fleming said in a news release.

      In a 2018 Vancouver Island University master's thesis, Michael C. Eyres pointed out that the majority of intermediate educators in B.C. don't have the resources or background to cover coding in their classrooms.

      To address this, Eyres created a noncommercial coding website for students in grades 6 and 7, as well as a teaching resource site.

      "I believe the project website will provide a strong unit of study," Eyres wrote, "however, each professional should always seek out additional skills and knowledge which they find additionally important. Therefore, professional development and personal learning is highly recommended for any teacher considering introducing coding to their students."

      His master's thesis cited a Fast Company article by Linda Dishman, who reported that in 2015, seven million U.S. job openings "were in occupations that required coding skills".

      Dishman relied on a Burning Glass study, which noted that jobs requiring coding skills paid $22,000 more than career-track jobs that didn't need this capability.