Experts say: “To survive in tomorrow’s society, young people must learn to code.”
Teaching children computational thinking, understanding, and writing code is a groundbreaking development in education in Australia.
Coding concepts are introduced from Prep to Year 2 when children learn how to follow and describe a sequence of steps (computational thinking) and ways in which data is represented as pictures, symbols, and diagrams. Students are slowly introduced to some of the common jargon to help them familiarise themselves with the digital world and avoid being intimidated by technology.
Students learn to use a children’s coding program, such as Scratch, and develop projects such as “Scratchy the Cat”; a code to make the cat spin, walk, fly, interact with other objects, and repeat actions to create automated movement.
Creativity in technology is also a fundamental skill since most problem-solving tasks within the computational thinking spectrum invites a new kind of lateral thinking.
All these skills are just the beginning because at Belle Vue PS each student has access to a robot. By using robots, children can apply coding to a robot unit that can accept instructions. These robots are not toys, they can be programmed to accomplish very complicated tasks.
From prep to year 2 there is a continuous emphasis on practicing solving problems by employing computational thinking and logic. Throughout the sessions, students learn and utilise concepts such as Conditionals, and loops, conditional statements (if-statements), and iterative statements (loops). During this early stage, students begin to design games and interactive animations using block coding.
In Year 3 and Year 4 the students learn about different types of data – such as text, images, and videos – and how the data can be represented in different ways using codes and symbols. The students continue using programmable robots but at this level, they experiment with different kinds of units. These new robots can be extended to accommodate more intricate coding patterns.
In Year 5 and Year 6 students look at how different digital systems work together. They plan and design a game with specific automated tasks with robots and sensors.
At Belle Vue Primary School we are very well resourced to teach the Digital Technologies curriculum. We are also very lucky and pleased knowing that our teachers are using the technology at our disposal to prepare students for the reality of this technological era.
The Junior School has a set of iPads as well as laptops with all the necessary software. All students, juniors and seniors, have access to laptops with internet access.
The school has equipped each classroom with interactive Smart TVs, Interactive Whiteboards and a plethora of robotic units to use in special lessons on Coding and Robotics.
This year we hope to introduce 3D printing to compliment our Digital Technologies curriculum. 3D printing is becoming an integral part in many areas, from medicine to space technology. Having our Senior School students exposed to such technology will help them prepare for what is already a common practice in today’s industry.
In 2019 our school is already equipped with more than 100 small robotic units for our Coding and Robotics Special Program.