Coding in the Playground.

IMG_3206Me, coding?

Recently I heard a statistic that opened my eyes. The average teacher is female, age 41, white British, graduated in 2001 now with 16 years experience and has just 4 days per year to evaluate the impact of her teaching at Inset. Is it any wonder that teachers feel under pressure? Expectations of what tech can do to support the teaching profession needs resetting… playgrounds are no longer uninspiring slabs of concrete but can be the areas where students can explore and learn to control  interactive immersive worlds in full colour!

Apple believe Everyone can code in fact they have developed an amazing set of resources that can support teachers to encourage and teach coding from age 5 to 16 , moving into developing apps when the students are able. Notice I say students, for teachers code is like learning another language, literally. Many teachers will run with it, the same teachers who dare to take on online course to learn Spanish in their 40’s to feel more at ease when summer finally comes! I suspect however, that most just want to know enough to support their classroom practice.

Personally, I can see how incredibly useful, in fact, essential being able to code is going to be. I cannot draw on extensive computing skills but I can teach. So this is my way of reaching out to those who are savvy enough to accept that learning changes and accepting that this change is not science fiction but reality.

First step, take some time to download the first of the teaching resources, start with this curriculum map . It frames the journey from age 5 upwards. So reader, after having researched the why? teach coding, you’ll be keen to see what this looks like in the classroom. Coding is not just restricted to computing, it is rooted in problem solving and designing systems leading ultimately to a better understanding of human behaviour. Students becoming digitally literate and more able to use and express themselves using communicating technologies. The future is now.

At this point reader, it is important that I reassure you that the resources are free. (I realise you’ll need an iOS device to actually complete the course). This is backed up by the reputation of Apple a company who has Education in their DNA. The resources are fun, engaging and have the potential to open the coding world to your students. Check out my daily digital diary which was my first steps in using Swift in the classroom. This blog reflects on the pitfalls as well as the successes of introducing coding into a primary school.
Developing skills is what teachers are about…so where next? I am very fortunate that I have access to the Apple Distinguished Educator programme where incredible teachers who work with Apple technologies around the world give their advice on what’s new and what works in the classroom…and what works is Swift Playgrounds. If you want access to this too, start to tweet. Join Twitter check out @vickiebacondpc and follow my fellow ADE’s – just searching ADE will get you started.



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