Cracking the Code
01 September 2017
We live in an ever-changing world where technology is all around us. Our children are growing up with an abundance of devices before them and using and interacting with these devices has become a part of everyday life.
At Avondale School we encourage our students to use technology in ways that help them improve their learning. Rather than simply being consumers of technology (game players, internet searchers and video watchers), our students are encouraged to be creators who use technology to learn in ways that were previously impossible. One of the ways we do this is through the structured, systematic and ongoing teaching of coding.
Put simply, coding is the giving of instructions that a computer can understand. For students growing up in a digital world, having the opportunity to learn this skill is essential. At a glance it may seem very complex and difficult to learn, but for our students the learning to code experience is fun, engaging and simpler than you might think.
The coding journey begins in Kindy as students work in pairs to create a treasure hunt. One student takes on the role of a robot and their partner takes on the role of a coder. The coder gives simple instructions written on cards (lines of code) to the robot, such as ‘move forward’, ‘move backward’, ‘turn left’, ‘turn right’, ‘pick up’ and ‘put down’.
In Year 1, students build on what they learnt in Kindy and they have the opportunity to start programming basic robots. Position instructions are programmed into the robot and the coder uses the robot to complete a series of challenges.
In Year 2, students begin to use iPad apps to code characters through mazes and puzzles. They also have the opportunity to engage in digital storytelling by coding a character on an iPad screen to move around, change settings and tell a story (while specifically focusing on their spelling, grammar and punctuation).
Throughout Years 3 and 4, students continue to build on their previous learning and undertake more complex coding challenges using both iPads and more complex robotic devices, and during Years 5 and 6 they move from block coding (where they drag blocks of code to create algorithms) to beginning to learn a written coding language that they can use to code a variety of robots.
As students move into high school, they have had the opportunity to develop a very solid understanding of coding that they can further build upon through an ever-increasing range of subjects.
The journey that began so simply in Kindy is built upon as students progress through the various grades. A solid foundation is built and the end result is a thorough and quite complex understanding of coding.