Just because your school doesn’t offer Information Technology or Computer Applications Technology as subjects, doesn’t mean that you can’t expose your learners to a basic introduction to computer science and careers that use technology.
On 15 June 2018, sixteen teachers and four technology support specialists from Gauteng Telkom Connected schools tried their hand at basic coding at MH Baloyi High School. This session, facilitated by SchoolNet SA, forms part of the Microsoft YouthSpark project which aims to provide basic computer science training to teachers so that they can expose more learners to basic coding and computational thinking.
The group were first introduced to the Microsoft #MakeWhatsNext program and discussed the shortage of women and Africans who have made names for themselves in the technology field. Teachers were encouraged to show their learners the makewhatsnext/careers tool which allows someone to see what careers may suit them based on two of their interests. This tool can be used in life orientation lessons or to get learners to consider a range of careers prior to selecting subjects for grade 10.
Having seen a need to expose their learners to basic coding and computer science concepts, the group then tried out the Minecraft Adventurer tutorial on the Hour of Code website. These simple resources help to teach basic coding concepts using drag and drop blocks that that lead to a Minecraft themed character performing certain actions based on the commands given. Whilst the teachers found the tutorial challenging at first, once they had learnt the basic concepts they were eager to solve the increasingly more difficult puzzles.
Whilst none of the schools represented offer Information Technology as a subject, and only one school offered Computer Applications Technology, we hope that the delegates who attended these sessions will use the resources provided to give learners a taste of coding and an opportunity to think about careers in STEM.
If you would like to facilitate an Hour of Code session for your learners, have a look at the Facilitating an Hour of Code course on the Microsoft Educator Community to get started.