Lunch was spent looking round the exhibition and taking advantage of the food and drink provided. After lunch Abi Woldhuis, Junior School Executive – Teaching and Learning Innovation from Roseville College, spoke about coding clubs. She talked about her experience of running a Scratch club for ‘Fearless Explorers’, I love this description. The students are not just learning to code, they are explorers who are taking risks and creating amazing things. Students work can be used to get others involved, show other students what they do in the club and others will come because they don’t want to miss out on something exciting.
Club badges was another great idea, fearless explorers badges, it is cool to be in this club and to code. Celebrate epic wins, celebrate the successes and showcase student work. One of her students loved Scratch so much she set up her own help desk to help other students. People with problems could submit a Google form to her and then she would respond with a YouTube video about how to solve the problem.
She also mentioned the Young Explorers competition. Something I will definitely look into.
After the afternoon tea break the final speaker was Shahneila Saeed, Programme Director, Digital Schoolhouse London. She talked about the UK computing curriculum and the lessons Australia can take from Britain’s experience. The main aim is for computing to have the same status as science and maths. The curriculum needs to be engaging, interesting, creative.
There was a big need for computing courses otherwise the UK was in big trouble in terms of filling the technology jobs of the future. Programming is a tool to access higher thinking, but what to teach? Will the Raspberry Pi and Arduino still be around 5 years from now?
It is important to teach the concepts, sequence, selection iteration, electronics, problem solving, critical thinking. Early years need to play, explore. High school also need to play, why should they stop playing?
Some apps she recommended were Code Kingdoms, Kodu and Greenfoot.
After the last session was the cocktail party in the exhibition hall. I had great professional conversations with some of the speakers and then went out with Lucy and a few more from the conference in the evening.