#codingforkids debate kicked off at the Guardian offices last night with a mix of around 50 people including education professionals, ex-teachers, those working in digital and technology and a few actual kids themselves! We Storyfied (live blogged) the event, so you can catch up here (thanks @rachelcoldicutt).
A few key points that seemed to reverberate with me:
Parents can be the catalyst here. So many people said that the event has inspired them to simply go home and play with their kids more, to work with them in simple game making programmes such as Scratch and to listen to what their kids want.
Coding, programming or the understanding of technology needs to be inbuilt across the board in education, not just restricted to ICT or similar. It’s a skill that’s needed whether you are learning English, Maths, Drama, Music, Geography, etc…
It’s not necessarily about building an ‘army of coders’ but giving people the knowledge and ability to understand what’s going on behind the screen. By creating a level playing field, cross-sector and cross-organisation working in the future should be so much easier as people will be able to speak the same language.
There’s loads of interesting tools out there already. A few mentioned were Alice created by Carnegie Mellon, Scratch made by MIT, WaterBear and Hackasaurus. @regulargeek has written about the tools on 36 resources to help you teach kids programming and Emma @hubmum has also written blog posts over the last month on the topic about how to initiate kids (or anyone) into coding.
I’m very pleased that the initial ‘cup of tea and a chat’ with Emma at Rewired State has evolved into us bringing together people to talk on the topic of #codingforkids and we’re inviting people to take on the next steps of making this a reality.
The BIG thing now is to get everyone - yes, YOU - pledging what they are going to do next. Use the #codingforkids hashtag on twitter to pledge, blog it and post it on the wiki. We’ve set a deadline of November 5th to get all pledges in and then we’ll announce them, coming back to check in with everyone in January 2012.
The wiki is open to all - please don’t be shy, add to it, amend, build it into the resource it should be. This belongs to an ever-evolving community of participants. And follow @codingforkids to keep up to date!