MODERN LANGUAGE: TCC student Rebecca Green works on a computer program while teacher Nathan Ramm offers some advice.
MODERN LANGUAGE: TCC student Rebecca Green works on a computer program while teacher Nathan Ramm offers some advice. Chris Ison Rokcprog

Students get taste for IT industry at an early age

REBECCA Green is learning to read and write in the global language of the digital age.

The Cathedral College student is understood to be among the first Year 7 students in Central Queensland to learn computer programming and coding in the classroom as part of the school curriculum.

Rebecca, 12, said she had been doing the class since the start of the year.

"I'm currently doing entrepreneurial behaviours where I've created two characters who talk to each other about entrepreneurial skills," she said.

"It's fun because you get to show people how you did it and created it from nothing."

Last month federal Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, proposed computer programming should be made a mandatory subject in all Australian schools as he looks to prepare Australia for the digital future.

Rockhampton's Cathedral College is one of the first schools in Central Queensland to introduce the subject as part of the implementation of the Digital Technologies Australian Curriculum.

The Cathedral College's assistant principal of curriculum, Brenda Mallory, and academic dean of business and information technology Nathan Ramm were the brains behind the introduction.

Mr Ramm said the subject was offered to the Year 7 and 8 students.

"With the continued implementation of the national curriculum we have introduced economics and business and digital technologies, so we redeveloped our middle school curriculum to reflect these changes," Mr Ramm said.

"We've developed this subject that students study in Year 7 and 8 where they get a taste for the IT industry at an early age.

"Having a knowledge of programming means that rather than just being users of technology the students learn to create and develop their own applications or programs and really have an understanding of computer science which, in this day and age and into the future, will be essential."

Ms Mallory said it was great to be one of the first schools to jump on board.

"The government and the education sector are right behind this initiative as it is an area that will give students a better opportunity in the global job market."

Coding, decoded

What exactly is coding? Coding is what makes it possible for us to create computer software, apps and websites. Your browser, your OS, the apps on your phone, Facebook, and this website - they're all made with code.

Here's a simple example of code, written in the Python language: print 'Hello, world!'

Many coding tutorials use that command as their very first example, because it's one of the simplest examples of code you can have.