Hour of Code - highlighting the importance of computer science

Students and teachers across the diocese have embraced the global coding movement, Hour of Code, this week for international Computer Science Education Week.

Hour of Code is an international initiative to expose children of all ages to the benefits of coding. Operating in 180 countries and involving millions of students, last year it broke the record for the largest learning event in history.

“Coding is thought of as a complex, difficult computer science − only for the computer ‘literate’,” said Assistant Principal of St John’s Primary School, Lambton, Terrence Haddow.

“It isn't! It is more about problem-solving and putting pieces of a puzzle together.”

St John’s have participated for their fourth year in Hour of Code, with every class involved from Kindergarten to Year 6, and the older students acting as mentors to the younger.

“The excitement generated by children realising they were constructing code in the Scratch program or constructing aspects of the Minecraft game was inspiring to see,” said Mr Haddow.

St Francis Xavier’s Primary School, Belmont, students joined the movement this year and have created Interactive Christmas Cards which they can electronically send to family and friends.

“Students from Kindergarten to Year 6 have been working at their own pace and learning the basics of Computer Coding over the last 2 terms through the program Studio Code (available at https://code.org),” said Assistant Principal Michael Walker.

“Through this program, students have been actively engaged in computer science and at the same time developing their digital literacy.”

Up the highway at St Joseph’s Primary School, Merewether, scooting bumblebees and lego robots are helping to introduce the Kindergarteners to coding in a way that they can embrace at their young age.

Acting primary coordinator and kindergarten teacher Marc Hattam said students throughout the school were working to become fluent in coding, “language of the future” by participating in a range of online activities and using robots.

“Coding and programming teaches things like logical thinking, problem solving and collaboration through fun and engaging play,” said Mr Hattam.

All schools involved recognised the educational advantages of coding and the excitement their involvement in Hour of Code created this week in their school community.

Images of St Joseph's Merewether students courtesy of Herald photographer Marina Neil and reproduced with permission.

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Amanda Skehan

Amanda Skehan was the Marketing Team Leader for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle and a regular contributor to Aurora and mnnews.today.