Coding, computing and kids: Wandsworth school embraces technology by teaching through iPads

Technology is the future, but so are our children. As coding was introduced to the UK curriculum and iPads have been welcomed in schools across the country, how is this affecting kids? SW Londoner investigates…

Survival basics used to be food, water and shelter, but now it seems we ‘can’t live’ without technology and why should we – after all, it’s not going anywhere.

Technology has given us a plethora of ways to learn, communicate and live, and children are the ones learning to harness it.

Wandsworth School Broomwood Hall introduced iPads for pupils from the age of four in 2012.

Lessons involve using a mixture of traditional and technological practices, using the iPad as an annex to their pencil case.

Ian Gibb, director of ICT at Broomwood Hall, said: “Children learn in different ways and we are seeing improvements with individual children – especially those who are visual learners.

“IT is everywhere now and you have to go to extremes to avoid it.”

Technology has even muscled its way into the school curriculum, as in September, England became the first country in the world to introduce coding as a mandatory subject.

From the age of five, pupils are now learning how to create and debug computer programs as well as how to make and store digital content.

Web developer Edwin Joseph, 20, from Feltham, said: “As humans we always try to evolve and help ourselves improve – technology has and is doing so.

“Teaching coding to children is an investment in the future.

“I really wanted to learn about coding when I was a kid but no one knew how to teach it at that time.”

Mr Gibb said the change to the national curriculum for computing is a great improvement from the previous model.

“The emphasis has shifted from teaching our children to be users of IT, to being responsible users who understand IT, and are able to extend, fix, imagine its potential, and improve it,” he said.

A major contributor to the computer gaming industry, Ian Livingstone, who is best known as the man behind Tomb Raider and Warhammer, has also advocated incorporating gaming into teaching.

He aims to open a free school in Hammersmith in 2016, where games and problem-solving will be used to enhance learning rather than simply passing exams.

Mr Livingstone said: “Children should be creators as well as consumers of technology, full of ideas and excitement, and computer science will enable digital creativity.”

These words ring true, as a 5-year-old Birmingham boy became the youngest qualified computer specialist in the world when he passed an exam to become a Microsoft Certified Professional last year.

It is official: children are the future, and they’re keeping pace with technology.

Picture courtesy of Broomwood Hall, with thanks

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