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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


  • Gerard Macmanus (View all users posts) 01 Aug 2015 5:17pm ()

    To most people this will be something new and out of their comfort zone. While there are a great number of resources in how to code online, there is nothing like having someone who does it for a living in the room with you. 

    http://codeclub.nz is a nationwide network of volunteer led after school coding clubs. From their website, "We create projects for our volunteers to teach at after school coding clubs. The projects we make teach students how to program by showing them how to make computer games, animations and websites. Volunteers go to their local primary or intermediate school or other venue, such as a library, for an hour a week and teach one project a week."

    Going along to these not as a teacher but as a student is one of the best forms of PLD that you will get. Not only will you be working on the same problems as the students, but you will also experience the same amazement in getting a program to work. Going through the projects will give you the confidence yourself to be able to offer this within your own classroom with your students. 

    Keep an eye out on the website as well meetup.com http://www.meetup.com/Code-Club-Aotearoa/ for events in your area to get together with industry and codeclub.nz to make a partnership that will change the way you deliver an exciting technology in your classroom.

  • Gerard Macmanus (View all users posts) 01 Aug 2015 5:18pm ()

    Thank you TraceyH for putting the excellent resources of csunplugged.com on this forum. This is a great resource that looks at the concepts behind programming. A number of students want to know the why? Why do we need to know how to program, what is happening behind the screen. Starting to look at ideas of binary, data representation, error checking enables students to start to making connections. 

    There is even a free book of the activities available for download.

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