Keeping kids up with the play
Do your kids want to learn how to code?
Corinne Callinan is a businesswoman of some note and a period on the Board of the NZ Association of Gifted Children gave her an insight into educational changes and the need for kids to keep up with advancing technology.
Corinne, the mother of a ten-year-old, is now adapting her entrepreneurial skills to a community initiative in setting up a free coding club for year 5-8 kids and is calling for registrations now.
“Coding skills are important in this digital age (it’s different from just ‘using’ technology) and it may give kids a competitive edge at high school, or at the very least even a basic working knowledge will help their Information Technology confidence,” says Corinne.
“The other great thing about the club is that kids can hang out with other kids that are into the same stuff as them and be guided (on request) by knowledgeable tutors. That’s great for the kids and it’s great for the parents too! Parents are usually good at helping with core reading and maths at home, but when it comes to Information Technology, often the kids have eclipsed us by junior school!”
Club Code kids will follow a curriculum that caters to their individual coding level. Each week they will be given a new assignment which will build on different programming skills, such as sequencing and repetition, variables, selection, boolean operators and finally data structures and functions.
Pat Bray is the expert code tutor, along with Hamish Judson, club mentor. Support code tutors, Ann-Marie Wilkinson and Karima Bencheikh, both teachers by trade, will assist them.
However, Club Code isn't simply about learning programming skills.
“We’re going to incorporate group projects into the curriculum,” says Corinne. “This is where kids will develop competencies that are vital in today’s business environment such as problem solving, computational thinking, planning, designing and collaboration skills.”
Two competency tutors, Honor Stratton (former teacher) and Jo Lee (former corporate HR executive), will design and facilitate specially themed group modules, in conjunction with the coding tutors.
Because Mangawhai Club Code is 100 percent run by volunteers, parents/caregivers of kid coders are needed to get involved in roles such as organising, scheduling, internal communications, photocopying tutorials, keeping records, management of resources, advertising, security and logistics.
“I want to spread the workload thin and wide, so the club is sustainable long term,” Corinne adds.