Cracking the Code - A Whole-School Approach to Computer Coding
Brian Baily Associate Principal Edgewater Primary School
What is computer coding?
You’ve seen the craze for learning code. But 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 – it ‘prints’ (displays) the text ‘Hello, world!’ onto the screen.
What our students see using blockly is:
What is all the fuss about? Why teach it all - especially to primary students - including Kindergarten and Pre-primary?
'Coding (or computer programming) is a new type of literacy. Just as writing helps you organize your thinking and express your ideas, the same is true for coding. In the past, coding was seen as too difficult for most people. But we think coding should be for everyone, just like writing…children aren’t just learning to code, they are coding to learn.' Source: Technology in Early Childhood.
The Australian/WA Curriculum indicates that computer coding should be taught from Year 5 and programming from Year 7. Why Year 5?
We start from Pre-primary - with trials to start soon with our kindergarten students.
How we cracked the code in a whole school way.
All staff teaching coding completed a 3 hour online training course and then, using the provided lesson plans, commenced teaching the lessons once a week in the lab sessions.
There are unplugged lessons which don't rely on a computer and are helpful in teaching students key concepts.
And the future for us?
What should I do as Principal/Deputy to get computer coding started in my school?
AND ABOVE ALL, HAVE FUN!!!!