Mike Bernier, Minister of Education has said that  “B.C. students are doing amazing things with coding throughout the province – and we’re going to make sure it’s something every student experiences by the end of Grade 9. We have revamped our curriculum top to bottom and added coding to it – so students will have the skills they need to fill upcoming jobs in demand and succeed in our changing world.”

Students have returned to their classroom this past week to continue learning the skills they need to succeed in our changing world.

A growing number of them will be getting hands-on experience in coding as British Columbia moves toward having all students take a basic coding class starting in the 2018-19 school year.

Coding teaches 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 technology sector, these critical thinking skills are vital for future success.

The first step in helping teachers get ready to teach coding in classrooms kicked off this past fall and is continuing in the coming months. Teachers from each of B.C.’s 60 school districts are attending regional-training sessions on coding, hosted by coding-experts from Lighthouse Labs. These teachers will help train their colleagues on how to explore coding with kids.

Coding opens up many opportunities for students. Many teachers are already connecting students to coding skills in classrooms; students are building robotics and drones, creating websites and developing apps.

West Vancouver Secondary school students enrolled in the Mechatronics Academy are participating in robotic challenges around North America. These students participate in fun competitions flying drones through student-built obstacles, and they are trying to find a way to fly student-attendance lists from their classrooms to the main office using drones.

Recently, students at an Aboriginal Choice school in Prince George used coding to represent their names and created traditional bead necklaces that featured their coded names. Teachers in the Prince George area are also thinking outside of the box by creating reading materials and games to teach coding without the use of computers.

Teachers and students in Trail make weekly visits to a local research and digital fabrication training facility, MIDAS LAB, to learn about coding. At the lab, students can use digital 3-D printers, laser cutters and other state-of-the art digital tools. Teachers regularly visit the facility and meet with instructors to find exciting ways to teach the new curriculum.

Teaching students coding supports the #BCTECH Strategy, a key component of the BC Jobs Plan to support the growth of the province’s vibrant technology sector and strengthen British Columbia’s diverse knowledge-based economy.