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An Enabling e-Learning forum: Coding, digital literacy or a new kind of language?

Started by Tessa Gray 30 Jul 2015 9:08am () Replies (20)

In the holidays, several students in Tauranga (yr 3-6) got to do what most kids would love to do, - go back to school! Codebrite school that is, where they got to play with iPads and robots learning simple programming and computer coding language. The kids were buzzing, the parents were intrigued, all-in-all, it was a success.

So why code?

“In a nutshell, learning to code enables pupils to learn the step-by-step commands to make websites, games, and apps. Common coding languages include HTML, Python, CSS and JavaScript: all of which are widespread and versatile.” Why Kiwi kids should learn to code

In the 20th Century, meaningful education was all about learning your ABCs. Today, it's centered on Alphas, Betas and C++. (Why Programming Is The Core Skill Of The 21st Century) and “Coding has been called the "new literacy" because of its role in powering our digital world. Websites, apps, computer programmes and everyday objects like microwaves rely on code to operate.” Cracking the code - schools get kids programming

Coding The same trends are not going unnoticed in New Zealand. There are many programming opportunities where global markets are turning to New Zealand for the solutions. The problem? There just aren’t enough students leaving school with coding or digital literacy skills. NZ is currently short of 10,000 technologists: so let’s teach coding in schools…

There is an increasing recognition that our young people are entering the workforce where nothing is guaranteed, where skills for the 21st Century are vital if they want to be competitive in a rapidly changing job market. “Programming skills are becoming ever more important, quickly turning into the core competency for all kinds of 21st Century workers.” (Why Programming Is The Core Skill Of The 21st Century)

The Ministry of Education recognizes, "A lot's changed in digital technology since the curriculum was introduced so we are addressing that. We're reviewing how we support digital technology in the curriculum," Ms Parata says. Cracking the code - schools get kids programming

CareersNZ indicates the amount of programmers in New Zealand are growing steadily, the job prospects are ‘good’ and for a bonus IT jobs are some of the highest paid in New Zealand.

CareersNZ programming

However, People in jobs not directly linked to computer sciences will still benefit from an understanding of programming and coding.” Cracking the code - schools get kids programming

Check out these cool things you can do with coding https://www.madewithcode.com/projects/

How can we start coding?

So if this is new to you and the teachers in your school, where could you start? This article in the Interface Magazine is well worth a read, If it’s something you’d like to introduce in your classroom, there are plenty of simple and effective ways to do it… then find out more at Meeting the challenge of computer coding.

If you are teaching programming or computer science in your school, what 5 top tips would you offer as a starting point? Feel free to add your ideas to this shared Google presentation here >>>.


You might also be interested in:

Image source: Flickr


  • Charlotte Hills (View all users posts) 21 Dec 2015 12:33am ()

    I am about to learn to code so I can teach students in 2016.  

    I did attempt to set up a group using scratch. I thought the kids would be okay to use the guides to teach them, but after a couple of sessions they started dropping off.  When I asked them why they weren't coming, they told me that they wanted me to teach them how to code.

    I will look at the Hour of Code I see above,,, I'm nervous, but know this is important :-)

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 02 Mar 2016 8:17pm ()

    Thanks for sharing Charlotte, isn't it interesting how our students can have learned behaviours around being taught a certain way. I can understand to some degree...probably why I like using YouTube clips to teach me new things.

    How's your Hour of Code working out so far?

  • Nathaniel Louwrens (View all users posts) 02 Mar 2016 6:02pm ()

    I've just had a watch of this TED talk by Linda Liukas.

    It's about 11 minutes, but an easy watch as she tells great stories about coding and how she has introduced children to code.

    She highlights how the patterns we use when learning languages and learning to knit, for example, are all just examples of coding. We've been doing it all the time.

    She finishes with this quote:

    Programming gives me this amazing power to build my whole little universe with its own rules and paradigms and practices. Create something out of nothing with the pure power of logic.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 10 Mar 2016 12:16pm ()

    I love digital technology, but check out this resource from Teaching children to code without screens - that helps our younger learners with coding - using a circuit and wooden block. Very cool.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 29 Nov 2016 9:55am ()

    STEM is the acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It is a multidisciplinary way of looking at curriculum with the understanding these form a sound basis for learning and…with the high-tech era fuelling job growth in STEM areas, more and more, a degree (or equivalent) is seen as the minimum requirement to enter the workforce.” So why the STEM push? 

    Our country (and the world’s) economies revolve around maths - accounting, economics, etc. Advancements and developments in science, technology, and medicine are rapidly evolving, therefore building a solid STEM foundation through a well-rounded curriculum is the best way to ensure that students are exposed to math, science, and technology throughout their educational career. https://teach.com/what/teachers-know/stem-education/

    The Ministry of education is implementing a number of initiatives to help promote STEM subjects in schools (SNUP, N4L, Communities of Learning, A Nation of Curious Minds – He Whenua Hihiri i te Mahara) because;

    As demands for innovative thinkers and STEM specialists increase, so does the need for initiatives such as the ones in place already to encourage and support students and educators in these fields. So why the STEM push?

    GirlBossNZ website screenshot So while the Ministry sets about to promote learning through these areas, one motivated, inspirational, Year 13 student from Albany Senior High School, Alexia Hilbertidou has set about to instigate an initiative of her on. GirlBossNZ was founded with one key mission in mind - to inspire, empower and equip New Zealand girls to become the change-makers of the future.

    What these young women have done in the areas of STEM education might just blow you away. Come and find out what innovation looks like when it’s student-driven. REGISTER NOW to meet Alexia and her mum tomorrow in, LIVE WEBINAR: Innovation in your school, 3.45pm, 30 November.

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 20 Mar 2017 2:02pm ()

    Simple coding at St Francis School


    Take one principal dedicated to growing digital fluency, one class of year 2’s and 3’s, six Blue-bot robots and some blocks or two. What do you have? One busy room full of chatter, where 6 and 7 years olds are working together to problem solve and write simple code; so their robots can navigate through the mazes. Some designs were elaborate, while others created more of a challenge with low hanging bridges and tunnels to navigate.

    IMG_3955.JPG    IMG_3950.JPG


    I watched as these children planned and talked together (some through conflict resolution), to negotiate how to make their programming work. In the end, they all had the opportunity to critique each other’s work using the language they had learned - like algorithms and programming. Digital literacy at it’s best.


     IMG_3954.JPG   IMG_3953.JPG


    Perhaps this is an easy way to start coding at your school?



    Thank you Geraldine Sumner and the children at St Francis School, Thames.

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