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The Coded Curriculum: Let’s get Coding in Every Class! (Part 1)

Part 1: The Why?

Part 2: The How?

If we examine global trends, it is clear that an increasing number of schools worldwide are integrating some form of computer programming into the curriculum. In this post we’re going to focus on why now is the time to include coding in all Ontario classes. In our next education post we will investigate how teachers can incorporate coding into classes, regardless of the subject! First, we must ask under the current provincial curriculum, is there a place for Ontario educators to incorporate programming?

Let’s take a look...

Coding closely aligns with Ontario’s commitment to developing Global Competencies (also known as 21st Century Competencies) among students. In 2017, the Ontario Ministry of Education “announced a $10 million per-year ongoing investment towards fostering greater innovation in education to support the development of global competencies in students.” As a result, the Ontario Education system has embraced six 21st Century Competencies.

What exactly are competencies? A competence is more than just knowledge or a skill set, it is the ability to meet the complex demands by drawing on one’s skills, attitudes, and abilities in a particular context. For example, communicating effectively in today’s world might mean drawing on one’s knowledge of language, understanding of relationships, and ability to use technology. Think about it - much of our communication takes place online!

The 21st Century Competencies include:

  • Critical thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Global Citizenship
  • Learning to Learn / Self-Aware & Self-Directed Learning
  • Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship

Competencies make an impact

Researchers are increasingly recognizing global competencies as essential to preparing 21st century learners to enter our rapidly-changing, interconnected, technologically-intensive society. Global competencies make a measurable contribution to students educational attainment, relationships, employment, and health and well-being outcomes. This is why Ontario is moving towards integrating these 21st Century Competencies into curriculum.

It’s not just Ontario that is incorporating global competencies into curriculum! Several countries have made this move and majority of them report that the competencies are not taught as separate school subjects but rather are integrated across the curriculum. This means these competencies are included in every class, regardless of subject area! Global competencies can be included in History, Science, Geography, or even Drama class.

Coding and Competencies - How are they connected?

A challenge for teachers is that it’s tough to find activities that hit all or even most of the 6 competencies. Great news! Coding can provide a rich and meaningful context in which students can explore and develop all of the 21st Century Competencies! Each of the 6 competencies can be supported by and developed through coding. Take a look at some examples below:

Critical thinking and Problem Solving

As a developer, one of the greatest assets is being able to problem-solve and think critically. Students are always problem-solving when they code. Think about troubleshooting - when there are errors in students’ code they must identify the issues, come up with solutions, and test their solutions. And it’s not just troubleshooting! The reality is every step of the coding process requires critical thinking skills and problem-solving abilities.

Communication & Collaboration

Software development often requires coordinated efforts of team members.  This means ability to communicate and collaborate effectively is essential for developers. Students achieve these skills when they code together to produce something or when they work together to troubleshoot.

Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship

I’m sure you’re not surprised to hear that Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship are part of programming and development. This 21st Century Competency is all about solving complex problems, enhancing ideas and products, and pursuing new ideas. Coding empowers students to be innovative, inventive, and creative. With code, students can produce a digital creation for just about any purpose imaginable.

Coding & Competencies bring many benefits

There are clear connections between global competencies and coding. Combined, there are many benefits for students including:

  1. Increased academic motivation
  2. Development of self-regulation and independence
  3. Improved teamwork and collaboration
  4. Development of critical thinking & problem-solving abilities
  5. Development of creativity
  6. Improved ability to find information
  7. Increased resilience and persistence
  8. Enhanced reasoning, organization, and planning skills

Core Competencies at Hatch

At Hatch Coding we strongly believe in the importance of global competencies. This is why we’ve made the move to incorporate core competencies into each of our programs. When students come to Hatch, they are not just learning how to code - they are developing global competencies! These core competencies are integrated into each of our classes because not only do they foster the development of proficient programmers but they set students up for success outside of Hatch. Learning programming skills and developing core competencies will provide students advantages in the future!

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