With developing technology comes the need for more skilled computer scientists. Inspiring the younger generations in computer science is a must to ensure we have the skilled programmers of the future.

Using technology is a skill and an expected one in the ever-changing technological world we live in. However, the need to understand how a computer works is fast becoming a skill all students should understand and have access to.

So, where does it start? 

As soon as possible is the answer, developing the key computational thinking skills that can be applied to any scenario and situation. By developing computational thinkers’ students will learn how to approach a new situation and find a possible solution.

Why teach coding

Decomposition: Break a problem down into smaller parts

Abstraction: Remove the information not required to solve the problem

Pattern recognition: Look for patterns within the problem and in other problems encountered to help solve this one.

Algorithm: Create a step by step solution.

A key skill that all students should encounter and embrace is ‘Debugging’. From an early age, students realize that there is a right and wrong way of completing tasks and feel a sense of failure when they do not get an answer quite right. This, however, is something ‘debugging’ could overcome. By embracing learning from where aspects go wrong, a student can learn and develop further. 

Oscar Wilde said: “Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.” And he is right, without mistakes how do we build experience?

When debugging is applied to programming, a student starts to understand what can and can’t go together to create a successful program. Without knowing what doesn’t work, new ways of working cannot be found.

KUBO Robot in action

KUBO offers the ability to follow all four areas of computational thinking and develop an algorithm to solve the given problem like getting from A to B. The TagTiles are placed together and through debugging the students can investigate, learn and develop their own individual programs.

Computing opens the eyes of pupils to a world of possibilities. Tim Berners-Lee and Mark Zuckerberg thought outside the box and considered a whole new way of thinking and the outcome of the World Wide Web and Facebook have changed the face of today.  They would of both looked at the problem and followed the four areas of computational thinking and encountered many areas to debug along the way to create the tools we use daily. You could be next, or your student could be and we as teachers need to be prepared to nurture that enthusiasm.

By Pam Jones

Computing Curriculum Designer and Subject Matter Expert (SME) for The National Centre of Computing Education.