Nova Scotia students from Grades Primary to 12 will develop critical skills using new technology to support their learning and to prepare them for new economy jobs.
As part of Budget 2016-2017, the province is investing $1 million to support coding in schools this year. As part of Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for Education, coding promotes problem solving, teamwork, critical thinking and innovation. These skills are directly linked to many of the growth industries in Nova Scotia, including computer programming, marine, manufacturing and communications.
“This investment in students in all grade levels will provide hands-on learning activities that will develop technology skills and provide students with the basics of coding, technology and design,” Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey said today, May 6, at a demonstration event. “We want to ensure our young people have the skills they need to be successful in a digital workforce.”
Students in Grades Primary to 3 were introduced to computing this year as part of the revised Information and Communication Technology curriculum. In the fall, programmable floor robots will be introduced to P-3 classrooms in every elementary school across the province to teach sequencing and programming to younger children.
Starting in September students in Grades 4 to 6 will learn more about coding and will develop skills in problem solving, critical thinking, resiliency, creativity, and innovation as part of a renewed curriculum. Every elementary school in Nova Scotia will receive innovation and exploration kits, including leading-edge technology and support devices such as iPads, Chromebooks, Sphero SPRK robots, Makey Makey invention kits and PASCO wireless probes and software.
Students in Grades 7 to 12 will have enhanced learning opportunities for coding through events like the Hour of Code, STEAM Olympics (Science, Technology, Engineering, Entrepreneurship, Art, and Mathematics) and partnerships with organizations like Brilliant Labs and Acadia Robotics. All high school students have access this year to Computer Programming 12 through the Nova Scotia Virtual School.
The 2016-2017 investment also includes professional development for teachers in May and June. Training will continue at the IT Summer Camp for Teachers as part of the Summer Learning Academy.
Ms. Casey said Nova Scotia is leading the way in its approach to coding both at the curriculum level and in terms of student success. She congratulated the Royal Robots team from Annapolis West Education Centre who won the First Lego League championship for students aged nine to 14 years. The second-place team, based out of the Colchester-East Hants Public Library, is competing in the North American Open in Fayetteville, Arkansas, later this month.
Ms. Casey also congratulated Horton High School for winning first place in the Robofest category at the Acadia Robotics competition held in February. The team will head to Southfield, Michigan next week, along with the second-place team from Digby Regional High School, to represent Nova Scotia at the Robofest World Championship.
An award-winning, online video about coding in Nova Scotia schools is at https://hourofcode.com/ca/promote/country-resources .
Nova Scotia’s Action Plan for Education can be found at http://www.ednet.ns.ca/ .