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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 >>>.


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Image source: Flickr


  • Tracyh (View all users posts) 30 Jul 2015 9:00pm ()

    I'm fortunate to be relief teaching and working with a PD student at UC, who is researching Computer Science in primary schools. It's a great time to be bringing what I learnt in the IT world back into the classroom! Here's some of the tools I've used this year with a wide range of year groups and the projects we've completed as a class or group of students.

    My introduction to these projects is always:

    CS is for people who like

    • problem solving and puzzles
    • their work to look fantastic and have an attention to detail
    • to work through a sequence of events and work out what the next logical order might be.
    • to push the boundaries on an idea to make it work for other people to use.

    We've created animations on Scratchjnr highlighting a school value

    Written a "food fighting" game in Hopscotch - to learn about iterations and using values.

    In Scratch we've created a quiz to help the year 3/4 team identify famous landmarks.

    I also really enjoy taking and making up Unplugged  activities from http://csunplugged.org/

    We "coded" Bo Peep finding her sheep using math's 10 frames, pictures of sheep and a doll as Little Bo Peep to work it out.

    What I'm noticing more and more is students are excited and motivated by Computer Science. All ages get the "buzz" of creating something themselves and although perseverance varies from group to group, the level of collaboration increases with each session and they are keen to "pair review" each others programming to check it works. 

    By using adapted Agile methods to manage the projects, all projects are completed and layers of complexity are then added. Accountability is high, because they will be asked "Where are you up to?" "What's next?" and "Are there any obstacles?"

    I think that's it so far, can't wait for the next project!

  • Tracyh (View all users posts) 30 Jul 2015 9:22pm ()

    Hi Mrs B30, If it's any help, I don't know a lot about the technical coding either, but what we are good at as teachers is to knowing how to google the answer we need and point students in the right direction. Maybe explaining to your class that web developers don't know all the code either, but they do know how to look it up and review if it's what they want to use. They use a "Timebox" to do a "Spike" (have a set amount of time to explore the possibilities) ie spending 1 hour finding out which calendar component would be best to use. In Scratch terms, it might be a 20 minute Timebox to find out how to make the Sprite do a particular thing? This time involves a lot of discussion and collaboration!

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