INTRODUCING LEARNERS TO THE FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.
Initially, our focus was merely on our TANKS coding project. The TANKS app was developed by Byron Batteson in 2017 as a Computing Sciences honours project. It uses customized tokens and image recognition to introduce learners to coding concepts without the use of a computer. Using TANKS, over 20000 learners have been reached directly though interactive coding workshops across the country.
The TANKS project has evolved to a broader UNPLUGGED CODING project – unplugged refers to coding without the use of computers. This is very relevant within the following context:
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the desperate shortage of software developers.
- The government’s drive to introduce coding and robotics to learners in all schools from Grade R upwards – the draft curricula were published in March 2021.
- The fact that 16000 out of the 25000 schools in the country do not have computer labs.
- The dire shortage of teachers with coding experience, as well as technical staff to maintain labs at schools.
The CODING UNPLUGGED project involves the following
The distribution of BOATS (Grade R to 3) and TANKS (Grade 4 and higher) Coding Kits, using physical activities and pen-and-paper exercises to introduce learners to coding.
These kits which interact with the BOATS and TANKS coding apps, have been distributed to 100’s of schools across the country.
Our RANGERS coding kit (with a focus in Game Poaching) is ready to be launched.
“We want to go to farm schools and bring them a message of hope. To say, it doesn’t mean if they don’t have computers they cannot learn how to code. Coding Unplugged all the way.”
Empowering teachers regarding Computational Thinking (problem solving) activities that can be conducted in class. In partnership with Keith Gibson from Collegiate Girls’ High we have compiled a compendium of exercises teachers can use.
These are being distributed at no cost. We plan to make supportive short videos that will assist teachers with these activities.
So far this year we have presented various physical and online CODING UNPLUGGED workshops reaching over 800 educators.
We are experimenting with the concept of “Coding Evangelists” who are trained and empowered to introduce coding (through our tools) to schools and communities, as small self-sustainable start-ups.
Virtual Coding Tournaments
Since March 2020 we have presented various virtual coding tournaments using the BOATS coding app. Our latest tournament in April reached nearly 500 learners from 70 schools who submitted over 15000 scores.
The focus of the coding app is Marine Pollution and Renewable Energy. This project is very effective during various COVID lockdown levels since learners can participate from home.
“Thanks for new innovative ideas and ways to get coding to be fun and making this a reality to the less fortunate, as this sparks a passion in their lives. The learners at my school … their eyes lit up as I speak about coding and robotics, and I see their future to be bright with successful opportunities and growth.”