National Coding Week 2021
Audio of National Coding Week
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National Coding Week | by David Howard, CENMAC Advisory Teacher
“everyone should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think”
– Steve Jobs (founder of Apple Computers)
Coding is everywhere, we use modern computing equipment and technology in all facets of life and at CENMAC we provide students with superb innovative technology that just wouldn’t be possible without coding. Our image of a computer programmer as a geek with glasses hunched over his computer is no longer the case; anyone can now code, from building websites to blogging and creating apps.
Coding is language that allows computers to understand what you want them to do. There are thousands of languages which can be used for instructing computers and like learning any language it can be daunting getting started. However, there are loads of online resources to help.
Many of the young people we work with have grown up using computers and for them using a connected device is and has been normal since they were very young. Learning to code is the next logical step for many of them. Coding will empower our students and give them opportunities for collaboration, work, recreation and more.
Four reasons to learn to code
- Teaches you how to think and problem solve
- Huge opportunities for employment
- Automate repetitive tasks
- Coding is the language of the future
Coding is particularly well suited to some of our CENMAC students and many of them are already solving complex problems and tackling challenges they face every day.
Often students with Autism, ADHD and other learning difficulties find they love programming. Students with ASD excel in computer programming because they are logical in their thinking, enjoy predictability, and are visual learners.
Codemonkey.com have a very interesting article about autistic children and coding here: www.codemonkey.com/blog
Learning code is FUN, students who like to play online games or solve puzzles can learn the basics of logical and critical thinking without realising they are learning, the Hour of Code website has activities for all ages and abilities that make learning coding fun. Whether it’s building in Minecraft or programming a robot there is a fun challenge for everyone.
There are hundreds of great resources for our students to develop their coding skills: here are some to get started with:
- Hour of code challenges for all ages: code.org/learn
- Scratch: https: scratch.mit.edu
- For younger people Twinkl have some great resources to get started with coding here: www.twinkl.co.uk
- Young people with a visual impairment can also learn to code. The Perkins school for the blind in Boston USA have an interesting blog looking at a programming language specifically designed for VI students, for more information visit: www.perkinselearning.org/technology
As an ex-computer science teacher, I am a strong advocate for learning to code. The critical thinking, planning, and problem-solving skills that young people will learn are transferable to their lives after school and, who knows, one of these young people may develop the next big selling app or design a solution to help solve a problem that will help others.
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Hour of Code