Stu­dents teach MPs to code


‘‘Girls can do any­thing – even teach politi­cians to code.’’

An Auck­land in­ter­me­di­ate school stu­dent has given MPs a les­son in cod­ing dur­ing a visit to the Bee­hive.

Auck­land’s Dioce­san School for Girls stu­dent Amelia Lock­ley, 12, was one of 30 stu­dents who headed a tech­nol­ogy les­son in the cap­i­tal last month.

The tech whiz stu­dents are mem­bers of Code Club Aotearoa - a char­ity that aims to give Kiwi kids the chance to learn cod­ing for free.

Cod­ing - a type of dig­i­tal language - is what makes it pos­si­ble for us to cre­ate com­puter soft­ware, apps and web­sites.

Lock­ley said she wanted to prove that ‘‘girls can do any­thing – even teach politi­cians to code’’.

‘‘My favourite thing about the week was how much the politi­cians loved learn­ing from the kids.‘‘

Lock­ley said learn­ing to code was as im­por­tant as learn­ing to read, write or count for chil­dren to­day.

‘‘We al­ready use cod­ing in our ev­ery­day lives - every tech­nol­ogy ad­vance­ment in­clud­ing smart phones – is made pos­si­ble through cod­ing.

‘‘Hav­ing an in­sight into the cre­ation of these is vi­tal to equip kids with the skills they will need in the fu­ture,’’ Lock­ley said.

In­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Peter Dunne and Na­tional List MP Brett Hud­son were two of Lock­ley’s stu­dents.

Hud­son spent 20 years work­ing in the tech­nol­ogy sec­tor be­fore en­ter­ing pol­i­tics and said Lock­ley’s dis­play of struc­tural think­ing was im­pres­sive.

‘‘I never could have been able to think in such depth at that age. The adults learnt so much from these chil­dren,’’ Hud­son said.

A re­cent PwC sur­vey showed only 3 per cent of New Zealand women se­lected a ca­reer in tech­nol­ogy as their first choice.

Tech­week 2017 put out a plea for New Zealan­ders to elim­i­nate the gen­der gap within a decade.

The event iden­ti­fied the best way to do this was to get girls into tech­nol­ogy at sec­ondary school.

Dunne said this was why the Gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced cod­ing into school cur­ricu­lums.

Code Club’s was help­ing grow a gen­er­a­tion of coders, he said.

‘‘It is great to see young chil­dren like Amelia Lock­ley ,who serves as an in­spi­ra­tion for other young New Zealan­ders to learn to code,’’ Dunne said.

Lock­ley is work­ing on an app to help im­mi­grants find es­sen­tial ser­vices when they first ar­rive in New Zealand, in­clud­ing, schools and banks.


Amelia Lock­ley, 12, teaches In­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­is­ter Peter Dunne cod­ing at the Bee­hive in Welling­ton last month.

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