Impact of the fourth industrial revolution in China and the rise of out-of-school classes in coding and programming

Lecture Theatre Q219 Kwong Lee Dow Building, 234 Queensberry Street, Carlton, VIC 3053

Maths and Science Education Research Seminar

Dr Max Stephens, Senior Research Fellow, University of Melbourne

China’s current phase of industrial development, sometimes called Industry 4.0, focuses on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning and the use of real-time data supported by iCloud storage. China's five-year plan of “education informatization” (2016)
aims to pave the way for related courses in primary and middle schools. In the meantime, the private sector has responded vigorously with out-of-school classes focusing on programming and coding for children – presented as providing children with a competitive advantage for their future careers by improving computational thinking and ability to solve problems.
When parents vote with their feet, what are the implications for the official curriculum?

Dr Max Stephens is a Senior Research Fellow in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. He has been a frequent visitor to China, including being an Honorary Visiting Professor at South West University Chongqing and at Tianjin Normal University. Earlier this year, an online teachers' magazine based in Shanghai (circulation 10 000+) published an interview (in Chinese) between Max and Dr Zhang Qinqiong (Wenzhou University) looking at the importance of computational and algorithmic thinking for the primary school curriculum and speculated on how China's primary schools might respond to this new trend. These and related issues will be discussed in the seminar.