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Programming / Coding - what many schools are not teaching but should


In South Africa the word programming is more common than coding. The two subjects which relate to computer literacy and application are: Computer Applications Technology (CAT), Information Technology (IT),

IT focuses on programming, and CAT teaches the use productivity suites, primarily Microsoft products, such as Microsoft Word, Excel and similar programmes.

In the Department of Education REPORT ON THE NATIONAL SENIOR CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION 2011 TECHNICAL REPORT, results from 2008 - 2011 are documented. (Source: REPORT ON THE NATIONAL SENIOR CERTIFICATE EXAMINATION 2011 TECHNICAL REPORT https://www.education.gov.za/Portals/0/Documents/Reports/2011%20NSC%20examination%20Technical%20Report.pdf?ver=2015-03-20-092537-457 )

The number of Matric students who wrote CAT and IT, compared to the number of national candidates:

  • CAT was less than 10% of the number of national candidates

  • IT was less than 1,5% of the number of national candidates

The table below indicates the number of IT and CAT candidates compared to total number of national Matric candidates from 2009 to 2011.

As well as number of CAT and IT candidates who achieved 30% or above (who passed)

The table below indicates the Percentage of IT and CAT candidates compared to total number of national Matric candidates from 2009 to 2011.

As well as percentage of CAT and IT candidates who achieved 30% or above (who passed)

When computer development is on the increase, and the numbers for both computer related subjects is so low, but especially how low the IT numbers are. This should be addressed by all schools.

We should be in introducing programming into all our schools and to our children at a much younger age, the video below addresses the question.

The video: What Most Schools Don't Teach, Code.org Published on Feb 26, 2013 https://youtu.be/nKIu9yen5nc

So what can we do to get learners interested in CAT and IT?

1. Back to basics - play games that teach coding skills

2. Teach simple programming - begin with MIT's Scratch and / or Univ of Berkeley's BYOB (Build your own block) Scratch

3. Introduce programming to younger children as a school club or extra-mural

4. Build the skills related of problem solving, logical thinking, and analytical thinking which could be transferred when introduced to programming in all other subjects.

5. Get all staff members onboard, exploring ways to build an interest in programming.

Curriculum Information

Below are the descriptions from the two Curriculum Assessment Policy Statements for Computer Applications Technology and Information Technology

Computer Applications Technology (CAT)

CAT is offered to Grade 10-12 Learners. It is described in the Department of Basic Education Gr 10-12 Computer Applications Technology Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement, page 8 .

What is Computer Applications Technology?

Computer Applications Technology is the study of the integrated components of a computer system (hardware and software) and the practical techniques for their efficient use and application to solve everyday problems.

The solutions to problems are designed, managed and processed via end-user applications and communicated using appropriate

information and communication technologies (ICTs).

ICTs are the combination of networks, hardware and software

as well as the means of communication, collaboration and engagement that enable the processing, management and

exchange of data, information and knowledge.

The diagram below illustrates how the main topic areas of the Computer Applications Technology subject support the

teaching of digitally enabled learners.

The table below sets out the topics and sub-topics in the Computer Applications Technology curriculum, is also from the CAT CAPS document, page 9

(Source: Department of Basic Education Gr 10-12 Computer Applications Technology Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement, page 8 and 9 - online https://www.education.gov.za/Portals/0/CD/National%20Curriculum%20Statements%20and%20Vocational/CAPS%20FET%20_%20COMPUTER%20APPLICATIONS%20TECHNOLOGY%20_%20GR%2010-12%20_%20Web_6AC6.pdf?ver=2015-01-27-154348-193 )

Information Technology (IT)

IT is offered to Grade 10-12 Learners. It is described in the Department of Basic Education Gr 10-12 Information Technology Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement, page 8 .

What is information technology?

Information Technology is the study of the various interrelated physical and non-physical technologies used for the capturing of data, the processing of data into useful information and the management, presentation and dissemination of data. Information

Technology studies the activities that deal with the solution of problems through logical and computational thinking. It includes the physical and non-physical components for the electronic transmission, access, and manipulation of data and information.

The diagram below illustrates how the six main topic areas of the Information Technology curriculum support the

teaching of digitally informed learners.

The table below sets out the topics and sub-topics in the Information Technology curriculum, is also from the IT CAPS document, page 9

(Source: Department of Basic Education Gr 10-12 Information Technology Curriculum Assessment Policy Statement, page 8 and 9 - https://www.education.gov.za/Portals/0/CD/National%20Curriculum%20Statements%20and%20Vocational/CAPS%20FET%20_%20INFORMATION%20TECHNOLOGY%20_%20GR%2010-12%20_%20Web_E677.pdf?ver=2015-01-27-154419-943 )

IT should be a core subject in all high Schools. Scratch or similar coding languages should be introduced in schools from Gr. 1.

We, a teachers, desperately need to encourage schools to allow more learners to take IT as a subject, to increase the number of IT candidates nationally.

Be proactive: explore ideas of using programming and the related skills in school.

Learn about programming and what it entails.

Explore how to teach programming related skills even without doing actual programming

Investigate setting-up your own programming and problem solving club within your school.

If you would like Karen to present workshops on introducing programming skills with the school. Contact her or explore the Courses for you page.

#coding #programming #curriculum #InformationTechnology #ComputerApplicationsTechnology #SouthAfricancurriculum #problemsolving