Crack­ing the dig­i­tal fu­ture

Marlborough Express - The Saturday Express, Marlborough - - FRONT PAGE - PAULA HULBURT

A self-con­fessed ‘‘techno geek’’ is help­ing school chil­dren crack their dig­i­tal fu­ture, one code at a time.

Reece Barnard tu­tors would-be dig­i­tal devo­tees in the art of com­puter cod­ing.

The for­mer teacher says chil­dren need to learn vital com­puter skills ear­lier to give them a wider choice of ca­reers later in life.

Self-taught Reece set up his own business, Techno Geek, last year in the wake of a more dig­i­tally in­te­grated ap­proach to teach­ing.

‘‘There has to be a bal­ance of course, chil­dren need to get out­side and ex­plore but there’s no get­ting away from the fact that there’s a whole new world wait­ing for them in cod­ing,’’ he says.

‘‘If they can use their imag­i­na­tions, then the sky’s the limit and I want to be able to help make sure that every­body gets a chance to do it.’’

Learn­ing code en­ables pupils to learn the stepby-step com­mands to make web­sites, games, and apps. Com­mon cod­ing lan­guages in­clude HTML, Python, CSS and JavaScript, all of which are wide­spread.

While dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy is op­tional in New Zealand schools it will be­come com­pul­sory from next year. The Gov­ern­ment has pro­posed to shift ed­u­ca­tion into a more ‘‘dig­i­tally ori­ented sys­tem’’.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Nikki Kaye an­nounced the pro­posal on Wed­nes­day and said it would break new ground.

Reece, who also tu­tors pri­vately, will run a cod­ing club in the July school hol­i­days. He has also run spe­cial work­shops at Bo­hally In­ter­me­di­ate School and Wither­lea School in Blen­heim.

He says more peo­ple are be­com­ing aware of the im­por­tance of cod­ing now and in the fu­ture.

‘‘You can’t get away from dig­i­tal tech­nol­ogy. While I ama huge sup­porter of the arts, mu­sic and singing, this is, dare I say it, per­haps more im­por­tant as un­less you be­come a pro­fes­sional singer they won’t re­ally help you much in your cho­sen ca­reer. Cod­ing will.’’

For fur­ther reece@techno­geek.co.nz. in­for­ma­tion email

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