Teachers empowered with coding skills during these sessions will be able to host coding workshops for children and youth during the actual Africa Code Week, which takes place from 15 to 23 October 2016 and in so doing be a part of empowering our youth in an essential skill for life in the 21st Century.
“When presenting the Africa Code Week initiative across Africa, the question I am most often asked is what is coding and why should we be teaching our children to code?” say Julie Cleverdon, Director of the Cape Town Science Centre, which is the global coordinator of Africa Code Week 2016. “Put simply, coding is a set of instructions you give to a computer to perform the tasks you want it to do. Instead of playing someone else’s game, why not create your own game? We are encouraging youth to become digital creators as opposed to only digital users. When children learn to code they learn to think creatively, use logic, problem solve and communicate among many other important thinking skills”.
These Train the Trainer workshops are based around Scratch, a popular programme used worldwide and developed specifically to simplify the face of coding for young people. The workshops therefore offer an important ‘entry point’ into coding for both teachers and their pupils. Importantly, Scratch (www.scratch.mit.edu) is a free resource developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab and available to anyone.
Africa Code Week (www.africacodeweek.org.), first implemented in 2015 is a spearheaded by the software company SAP in association with the Galway Education Centre in Ireland and the Cape Town Science Centre. The first year of Africa Code Week sparked the interest of more than 89,000 children across 17 African countries to write their first lines of code. Of the 89,000 youth engaged continent-wide in 2016, almost 4,000 were from Cape Town and the Western Cape. This year the goal is to engage 150,000 children and youth in 30 African countries. Teachers and others in Cape Town can once again work towards achieving the goal for Africa Code Week in 2016 and empowering our youth.