FUZE on improving the coding curriculum: ‘BASIC needs to be reintroduced’

FUZE’s founder Jon Silvera discusses why he thinks there is some middle ground missing in the new coding curriculum.

Finally, it would appear, the education system is starting to take the new ‘coding curriculum’ seriously and as such schools are purchasing new ‘coding’ tools and resources to support and expand their existing IT suite.

Is it time for consumer retail to jump aboard the bandwagon – is there a bandwagon, I mean a lot of these tools are free aren’t they?

The most important part of the new computing curriculum is that schools must teach children to code, and in part, using a text based language. This is where things get really confusing for the educator.

On one hand, especially in Primary the easy choice is something along the lines of Scratch or Kodu etc. and on the other hand, at least in Secondary, the common choice seems to be Python, Java and even HTML.

I’m sorry but has anyone actually thought this through?

Scratch, and similar, are great tools for the early years but to stretch their use across three or four years at primary is astonishing, and then, very often it is even used during the first year of secondary too! Then we present them with a ‘real-world’, professional language like Python.

I need to get a few things straight here. At FUZE we are not anti-Scratch or Python, quite the opposite actually but we strongly believe there is a middle ground missing from the current picture.

Imagine trying to go from Ladybird to Tolstoy, painting-by-numbers to Monet or the Triangle to Bach. OK, I might be over emphasising the point here but I’m sure you get the idea.

In addition to being told by the Government that schools must now teach ‘coding’, the subject is also to be considered as important and relevant as many other key subjects like science and languages. How is a teacher supposed to be able to teach a topic with little or no experience in the subject, let alone qualifications? This wouldn’t occur in any other subject.

The FUZE approach has been to reintroduce the classic programming language BASIC. Of course it has been modernised to sit alongside more current environments but it remains just as accessible for an absolute beginner as it ever was.

Over the last couple of years we’ve done computing workshops for schools and science fairs around the country. We’ve spoken to thousands of children and their parents, and hundreds of teachers and heads. We target age seven and up to any age, kids, parents and teachers.

The positive feedback is overwhelming. Kids can code using a text-based language from a very early age. Parents are happy learning alongside because they ‘get it’ too and teachers are happy because it can be taught without any training or prior programming experience.

The FUZE platform is self-contained, very specific for its purpose, inexpensive and incredibly educational. We have received extensive positive press coverage over the last two years.

Parents and teachers are desperate for resources. Parents often want to continue their child’s learning at home and the FUZE is an ideal platform for this.

FUZE is available from Tech Data, Rapid Electronics and fuze.co.uk (trade enquires should use contact@fuze.co.uk)

Jon Silvera is the founder of FUZE Technologies, Downloadbuyer and BinaryDistribution.

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