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Ontario Implements Coding in New Elementary Curriculum

In 2013, U.K. schools made it mandatory to teach coding to children as young as five years old. Learning to code helps students better understand the online environment in which they live, thus being better prepared as they ascend into their milestone of adulthood. However, in order to fill the gaps that exist today in the growing tech industry, we need to update our math and science curriculums to allow the future generations to hone these skills.This reason alone is why being taught coding at school is so important, and something for everyone to consider on experiencing to digitally coexist in a meaningful way.

The technology of the future is changing education today with inventions, innovation and diffusion of machinery where transforming students’ skills will be essential for tomorrow. Based on current demands, adding new subject material and implementing modern components to the curriculum, vital for educational systems to respond to, and to develop lessons that will prepare students for post-education. Meanwhile, it also helps students who are immersed in a technology-based society to move from a consumer into a creator role. By embedding coding into the everyday workings of a classroom, students will learn to develop algorithmic thinking, enabling them to better understand, interpret, and assess situations and events throughout their lives. Coding also trains people to become independent citizens distinguishing themselves in a technological dependent world. 

The Province of Ontario revealed the launch of a new and improved back to basics math curriculum that will be implemented in elementary schools across the province. Within this revised curriculum, the main focus on new sections, in terms of finance, budgeting, and coding, all of which are long overdue are to be taught in schools. This $200-million math strategy is to refocus learning onto the applications and skills that are necessary for students' futures using their back to basics approach. The Ministry believes these new segments of the curriculum will vastly improve students' learning experiences and boost math scores, which has been on a steady decline in the last decade. The overall motivation of this is to reconsider and deliver what tools the 20th century learner needs and ensure that it reflects the technology and systems being used. By supporting them, we’re supporting their growth in confidence through the increase in academic scores, and at the same time will also engage students in math.

"I appreciate the broader challenge around us, but we must move forward with these necessary reforms to give hope to these students that when they graduate they can aspire to get a good paying job…If we get this right today we can literally change the course of the workforce."

- Education Minister Stephen Lecce

How they are implementing the system is by swapping the “outdated and abstract examples [with lessons that are] relevant” in our daily financial lives such as strategy, budgeting, taxes, and money transfers. In this new proposal, lessons on coding will also be integrated with the updated algebraic terms starting in grade one that will begin for the new school year starting in September 2020. To put this into perspective, the elementary math curriculum hasn’t been updated in over 15 years. Going forward, their annual progression is a commitment for students who will move onto applying the necessary skills and develop simple solutions for complex problems.

Ontario is blazing a trail for their fellow neighbouring provinces to better prepare students. While they are taking the first steps, the nation is behind them in the implementation of the bold initiative.

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