At Sony UK TEC, we believe that computer learning is an incredibly important part of a child’s education and we have worked hard to provide as many Welsh students as possible with access to coding workshops within our facility. So far over 13,000 students have taken part in our school programmes, including our popular ‘Learn 2 Code’ workshop, since 2017 with the numbers growing every year. Our tailored, one-day workshops are led by a qualified coding instructor who encourages children to use their creativity across a variety of digital platforms to help them with their STEM learning.
With the ever-increasing need to provide learning in a digital format, be also believe it is crucial that teachers are equipped with the programmes and tools they need to make these workshops as engaging as possible.
Over the next few months, we will focus on a variety of online learning platforms, looking at the pros and cons of these sessions and how you can incorporate them into your computing teaching.
To start with, we will cover how Code.org® can be used for teaching coding in a digital landscape that is constantly evolving, in a straightforward and exciting format.
Code.org® is a not-for-profit programme dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and at home. Its vision is for every student in every school to have the opportunity to learn computer science as part of their core education, from reception, right up to year 12.
To support its goal, Code.org® works across the education spectrum: designing its own courses, partnering with others, training teachers, affiliating with large school districts, helping change government policies, expanding internationally via partnerships, and marketing to break stereotypes.
Whilst its extensive course curriculum is based on the American Educational framework (as seen in the figure below), its programmes transfer seamlessly to UK education systems.
The courses aimed at primary-aged children focus on block-based coding similar to ‘Scratch and Teach’ concepts such as loops, debugging, abstraction and sequence amongst a variety of other topics.
Each lesson is structured in a way that they become increasingly difficult and challenges the children to apply what they have learned from previous sessions. Each unit begins with a video explaining the concept and models what the children will need to do to complete the training.
Training also includes a module which enables unplugged activity, whereby learning can take place without the use of technology or connectivity. The lesson plan, resources and video demonstrating the lesson are all available within this section encouraging independent learning and practice.
A key benefit of Code.org® is that learning is continuous, and each module completed is saved under each child’s personal profile. Each time a child logs into the platform, it reminds the user of completed tasks, how well they have done, and which modules are next to encourage further learning.
As can be seen in the figure above, the green blocks indicate how much of each lesson the children have completed.
The faded green, however, indicates that whilst a task has been completed, not all the code has been correctly entered, therefore children are encouraged to reengage with the platform to evaluate their code and correct their mistakes.
During an incredibly challenging time with the global outbreak of COVID-19, the world is dealing with growing concerns over children’s education systems, their health, and its impact on UK communities.
With widespread closures of schools across the country taking place in an impromptu manner, Code.org® seeks to support teachers, students, and families in providing engaging and innovative resources to encourage teaching and learning of computer science when their students are remote or in socially distanced classrooms.
For more ideas on how to engage with a remote classroom, Code.org has developed a range of ‘Hour of Code’ activities – a global movement reaching tens of millions of students in 180+ countries.
Anyone anywhere can organize an Hour of Code event or try any of the over 500+ one-hour tutorials, available in over 45 languages.
Whilst this is just a brief overview of Code.org®, what it can do and how it can benefit your class, we encourage you to delve further into their website via https://code.org/ where the company provide a more in-depth overview of their values, resources, and teaching plans as well as how to get started with using the platform.
Disclaimer: Code.org® is a not-for-profit programme dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and at home, and an educational tool suggested by the qualified coding instructor who delivers the Sony UK Technology Centre educational programmes. Sony is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with Code.org®, or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates. The official Code.org® website can be found at https://code.org/
Photographs used in the blog taken pre-COVID with permission from the school.