Connecting students with the skills they need to succeed in our changing world is the key goal of British Columbia’s new curriculum – and $6 million announced today by Premier Christy Clark will invest in training for teachers to teach coding and the new curriculum, as well as for computers for classrooms.
“Supporting the new curriculum just makes sense – for our students today and for our success as a province tomorrow,” Premier Clark said. “Coding and our new curriculum are connecting students with the problem-solving and critical-thinking skills they need to thrive – no matter what path they choose.”
By the end of Grade 9, every student in British Columbia will take a module of basic coding under B.C.’s new curriculum. Coding is a hands-on way of teaching students how to analyze a problem, determine the steps to fix that problem and then create directions so a machine can carry out those steps. Whether or not students pursue careers in the tech sector, these are vital analysis and critical thinking skills for future success.
“The world is changing and we need to move forward so students have the skills they need to succeed in that changing world,” Education Minister Mike Bernier said. “Preparing our kids for their future is our most important job, and getting teachers trained to teach coding and the new curriculum is just one way we are doing that.”
Premier Clark and Bernier were joined by education partners to announce critical supports for coding and the new curriculum at Taylor Park Elementary school in Burnaby. At today's event, students in grades 4 to 7 from Taylor Park showcased their coding and robotics projects developed with the help of secondary students from Byrne Creek Community school - just one example of B.C.'s innovative learning in action.
“This is great news for educators and students across our province. Learning to code and the critical thinking skills it develops has multiple benefits for young minds,” said Patrick Sauriol, DigiBC executive director. “Children throughout British Columbia will learn technology fundamentals that they can use to pursue interesting and high-paying careers, such as creating video games, the next generation of robotics, or new technologies for established B.C. industries, like forestry, mining or energy production.”
The Province will support coding and the new curriculum in 2016-17 by providing:
- $2 million for teacher training, specifically for the coding curriculum,
- $2 million to help school districts purchase equipment and resources to support coding instruction, and
- $2 million to help teachers bring the new curriculum to life in their classrooms, building on the $1 million provided this past year, and the dedicated professional training time (worth $100 million) made available to teachers over three years.
“The introduction of an expanded IT curriculum for B.C. students will help to prepare them for careers in the 21st-century economy,” said Teresa Rezansoff, president of the BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA). ”Today’s announcement supports BCSTA’s request for the funding needed by school districts to bring this new curriculum to life.”
Designed by teachers, B.C.’s new curriculum will teach students the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic in a way that connects them to collaboration, communication and critical thinking skills they will need to succeed after high school.
“As you can see at this showcase, the children of today are already living in the future, and in many cases teaching us adults how to do things,” said Burnaby Board of Education chair Ron Burton. “A coding module in B.C.’s new curriculum provides students the opportunity to further develop problem-solving skills to explain the world and ultimately broaden their horizons.”
Teaching children coding is part of the #BCTECH Strategy, a key component of the B.C.’s Jobs Plan to support the growth of B.C.’s vibrant technology sector and strengthen British Columbia’s diverse knowledge-based economy. The multi-year strategy includes a $100-million BC Tech Fund and initiatives to increase talent development and market access for tech companies that will drive innovation and productivity throughout the province.
B.C.’s new curriculum: https://curriculum.gov.bc.ca/
#BCTECH Strategy: www.bctechstrategy.ca
Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect
A backgrounder follows.