By Beth Alexander, Grade 8 Teacher and Curriculum Leader
This year, British Columbia adopted a new elementary computer studies curriculum in recognition of the fact that these skills are essential for students today, and has invested millions of dollars in the training and infrastructure needed to deliver the new standards. Currently, Ontario has no mandatory computer studies curriculum for students before high school.
In keeping with our innovative approach towards fostering 21st-century skills amongst students, Linden faculty have developed our own enriched computer studies curriculum for Kindergarten to Grade 8. This curriculum is updated each year to keep pace with advancing technology and our rapidly evolving society. You can see our specific expectations for each grade here.
Linden's enriched computer studies curriculum has four main goals:
Encourage girls to see themselves as creators, rather than just consumers of digital technology. Part of Linden's philosophy, particularly in STEM, is that students should be engaged in the real work of discovery and creation, and not just be here to memorize the knowledge handed down by others. This is very much the spirit of our computer studies program. Each student in our elementary program spends at least two hours a week in the lab engaged in hands-on experiences related to digital technology, including electronics and robotics.
Emphasize programming skills. Coding skills are not just useful in their own right, but also provide opportunities for girls to strengthen their logical and critical thinking skills. Therefore, girls in every grade engage in programming tasks. The youngest students use games to build logical and sequencing skills. By Grade 8, girls generate code in the Python language.
Encourage girls to consider future careers in computer technology. Women are vastly underrepresented in computer studies post-secondary programs. One way that we're trying to change this—besides offering an enriched and engaging program that emphasizes female role models—is accelerating learning in every grade. This means that girls who have taken our elementary program will be ready to take the Grade 11 computer studies course by Grade 9. By freeing up their tight schedule in the last two years of high school, it's our hope that we allow more girls to consider a post-secondary computer studies path.
- Enable girls to live online lives that are healthy, safe, ethical, enriched, and that lead to future opportunities. Increasingly, we make contact with the world digitally, and this affords us incredible opportunities to meet and engage with people, places, and ideas that were impossible a generation ago. These opportunities also come with added responsibilities and risks. Through an ongoing process of discussion and discovery, we're engaged in the task of helping girls navigate their place in an online world.
If you would like to know more, or if you'd like to get involved in the discussion about how to meet our ever-changing technology needs, please contact one of our Linden computer studies teachers: Beth, Savannah, Gary, Soteira, Martha, or Sang, who are listed on our Faculty webpage.