Nova Scotia hopes to incorporate computer coding into the curriculum next year so that students get more hands-on experience with the technology that makes the modern world work.
The province is teaching students from Grade Primary to Grade 3 the basics of computers this year, and the hope is by next year children in the older grades will be learning how to write computer programs or code.
About 600 high school students spent the day Wednesday in coding workshops and in lectures about the importance of coding.
The Department of Education organized the day-long outing to coincide with a data congress, or meeting on technology, in the hopes of sparking students' interest in computer programming.
It is hard to imagine that more Canadian kids aren't exposed to how computers and programs work, given that they're awash in blue screens, their schools brimming with computer labs.
But the reality is that most school-age kids are only skilled at navigating their way around programs that have been built for them, be it web software, an app or an internet search engine.
These coding workshops aim to change that — and teach both students and teachers coding skills.
Future workforce skills
Education Minister Karen Casey admitted that some students likely know more about coding than their teachers do.
"They're going to have to have some professional development, absolutely, because it's a new language for some of us and you know we need to make sure that what we are sharing with the students is right, is correct," she said. "And so that's why we're taking it as slow as we can but as fast as we can."
Casey said there are coding clubs at some schools but there's no formal instruction right now.
Lockview High School student Joe Doucet said he'd like to learn about coding.
"It would be a good idea," he said. "Change up things in the class. Instead of just kind of sitting around and doing the same old lecture, writing, those kinds of things."
Alex Colley, student at Millwood High School, said he'd done some coding but not much.
"Last year in Grade 10 we went in the computer lab and we made games through coding," he said. "I'd imagine for people that would like to go into that industry and do things like that, that they would love it."
Lockview High Grade 12 student Tom Billard agreed.
"Yeah I think it would be good to learn. It would be kind of like taking entrepreneurship before you go to university so you have a basic understanding of it before you actually jump right into it."