Pupils take on cod­ing world record at­tempt

Christchurch Mail - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - MONIQUE STEELE

Com­puter cod­ing is ev­ery­where. As the tech­nol­ogy sec­tor ex­pands at an in­creas­ing rate, ed­u­ca­tors at­tempt to keep up with it.

Last week, a group of Christchurch stu­dents took part in a world record at­tempt for the amount of chil­dren cod­ing on a project, the ‘‘Moon­hack projects’’, in a sin­gle day.

Sev­eral dozen St Fran­cis of As­sisi School pupils spent the most part of Tues­day glued to their computers, cod­ing, along­side their Aus­tralian coun­ter­parts across the ditch who at­tempted to break the world record last year.

Ag­ing from year 3 to year 8, the pupils were learn­ing about how to code and ma­nip­u­late com­puter sys­tems through ed­u­ca­tional soft­ware pro­grammes in­clud­ing Scratch and Trin­ket which came with in­struc­tional man­u­als for the pupils and teach­ers.

‘‘We’re try­ing to break the world record,’’ said year 6 pupil Tam­era Adams, 10.

‘‘Imag­ine if we were in the 2017 Guin­ness Book of World Records.’’

Some of the year 7 and 8 stu­dents said do­ing cod­ing was an im­por­tant path­way for their later ca­reers, and oth­ers said it was some­thing which their par­ents had never heard of.

Year 8 St Fran­cis of As­sisi stu­dent Ni­amh Webb, 13, codes at home and said she en­joyed the prob­lem solv­ing as­pect of it.

‘‘It’s the only lan­guage I can learn. When I first started last year I has no idea what I was do­ing in the slight­est. But I got it even­tu­ally.’’

Study­ing code at a weekly af­ter school ses­sion and twice-weekly lunchtime ses­sions as ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties, teacher and e-learn­ing co-or­di­na­tor Whit­ney Hansen said the up­take was out­stand­ing.

‘‘There were so many kids who wanted to do it... Of the 373 stu­dents, we’ve prob­a­bly got around 200 choos­ing to do cod­ing ex­tra,’’ she said.

Hansen said friends study­ing com­puter science at univer­sity were study­ing some of the same tech­niques her young stu­dents were learn­ing.

‘‘It’s the idea of be­ing able to cre­ate, not just con­sume, and they’re speak­ing the lan­guage of tech­nol­ogy.

‘‘These kids do some pretty amaz­ing things.’’

St Fran­cis of As­sisi prin­ci­pal Jo Earl said it was vi­tal the school kept up with the rapidly chang­ing world of tech­nol­ogy for the stu­dents.

‘‘It’s the prob­lem-solv­ing. These are the skills these chil­dren are go­ing to need in the fu­ture. Our job is to pro­vide them with the op­por­tu­nity to get those skills while they’re here with us.’’

MONIQUE STEELE/STUFF

St Fran­cis of As­sisi School pupils took part in a chal­lenge to break the world record for the amount of chil­dren cod­ing around the world in one day.

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