New coding and robotics opportunities coming to Saskatchewan classrooms
To ensure classrooms are meeting the needs of 21st century students, on March 23, Saskatoon University MLA Eric Olauson, on behalf of Deputy Premier and Education Minister Gordon Wyant, announced new coding and robotics opportunities for middle-years and high school students in Saskatchewan.
“Our government is following through on our commitment to develop Saskatchewan students’ computer coding skills that will help prepare them for emerging careers in science, mathematics, engineering and technology,” Wyant said in a statement. “Today’s announcement will build upon local successes we have seen across the province in coding and robotics education.”
During the 2016-17 school year, Legislative Secretary Lisa Lambert met with education sector stakeholders throughout the province to obtain feedback regarding curriculum renewal. As a result of her consultation, the Ministry of Education restarted the curriculum renewal processes for a number of areas.
Robotics modules that incorporates coding will be developed in the area of provincial Practical and Applied Arts, in response to requests from the education and tech sector stakeholders.
These elective courses will be available to all high schools in the province, and teachers for grades between 7 – 9 will also have access to introduce students to coding and robotics.
“Saskatchewan’s rapidly growing tech sector relies on a diverse and highly-educated workforce that can be achieved only through continued and innovative support at every level of education,” SaskTech spokesperson Dr. Aaron Genest said. “We are thrilled to see the Government of Saskatchewan demonstrate a commitment to position Saskatchewan’s children as leaders in an increasingly technical world. We thank the government for understanding that robotics and coding skills are best introduced early to ensure all students benefit.”
In 2017, a Practical and Applied Arts Reference Committee was formed to provide direction, which later recommended that coding and robotics courses be developed.
“The reference committee is pleased that the Government of Saskatchewan is moving forward on developing a robotics curricula for all Saskatchewan students,” Reference Committee spokesperson Rob Heppner said. “We recognize that robotics and coding are becoming more prevalent in our everyday lives. These courses will open up new experiential and relevant opportunities for students today and into the future.”
A writing team was made up of teacher experts and ministry consultants who will begin developing robotics courses that incorporate coding this spring, with the goal of piloting them in the 2018 -19 school year.
The writing team will use locally developed secondary robotics courses approved for use in Saskatchewan schools as guides for the province-wide curriculum.
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