Children as young as five are to be taught how to code in British schools as part of the UK government’s new national curriculum.
With a computer in nearly every British household and tablets and smartphones readily at their disposal, children are now completely surrounded by technology, and the government has chosen now as the time for them to get to understand how it all works.
Schools will be expected to help pupils exercise and understand the basic grounds of computer programming and computer science, including how algorithms are applied in the desktop, laptop and mobile devices that they use every day.
The BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) are set to back the initiative, having already expanded its support materials on its BBC Bitesize website – a site that for more than 15 years has helped schoolchildren learn more about core subjects.
Covering modules from ‘How Computer Games Work’ to ‘Programming a Robot’ , the undertaking has been welcomed by existing organisations that are already teaching children coding skills.
Talking to the BBC, Emma Mulqueeny, founder of Rewired State , said: "Partnerships bring strength and shared learning, prevent avoidable mistakes and unify an active and committed community. I am hugely encouraged by this move by the BBC, and would counsel everyone to look at collaborative engagement.” (bbc.co.uk/news )
Ranging from primary school level upwards to GCSE exams, the new materials on the Bitesize website cover 40 different elements of computer science, each tailored to support the new curriculum.
"It’s about giving the next generation a chance to shape their world, not just be consumers in it,” said Jessica Cecil , the BBC’s Coding and Digital Creative Initiative controller.
It has also been revealed that the broadcaster will launch several programming-themed children’s TV shows in the autumn.
Appsolute Genius will be a spin-off of the existing CBBC show Absolute Genius, in which prominent computer programmers – such as the brains behind Pac-Man and Sonic The Hedgehog – will be interviewed by hosts Dick and Dom.
Five episodes of the CBeebies show Nina and the Neurons: Go Digital will explore coding, driverless cars and 3D printing.
These, as well as an app and gadget-themed show called Technobabble, are designed to encourage the BBC's younger audience to expand its computer skills.