Coding for their futures

St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School is focused on equipping students with the skills required for the 21st century and careers of the future, ensuring they feel empowered with the confidence, tools and knowledge to flourish in a digitised world.

Digital technologies touch our lives in almost every way, never more so than in 2020, which has brought about a rapid fire necessity for digital transformation and a steep increase in society’s use of and reliance on technology. Universally, students have participated in online learning, people have worked from home, and technology has been increasingly used to stay connected with family and friends and access everyday goods and services, such as grocery deliveries, healthcare and virtual fitness classes. 2020 has highlighted the skills and attributes required to optimise our experiences in the 21st century, including adaptability, flexibility, problem-solving, creativity and technological savvy.

The school is committed to building the digital literacy of our students and digital technologies forms part of the curriculum for even our youngest learners at St Margaret’s.

Embedding technology in key learning areas of the primary curriculum involves teaching students to use technology effectively and appropriately to access information; however, it also focuses on teaching students how devices such as iPads or computers are built, how they work, and how coding or programming instructs their function.

Digital literacy also develops many crucial transferrable life skills such as critical and logical thinking, creativity, problem-solving skills, and the ability to articulate and communicate ideas and work collaboratively with their peers.

Each week throughout Term 3, students in Year 1 are learning coding using Scratch, a visual programming language designed to help the girls develop projects such as interactive animations. This builds upon their work with Code-a-pillar in Term 2.

St Margaret’s Year 1 teacher Kylie Briggs said: “Coding is another language and introducing the girls to the basics of coding at such a young age means they will be more likely to understand the concepts. It also lays the groundwork for what they could do in the future and supports their development of problem-solving capabilities, their ability to be creative and their design thinking.

“Scratch makes coding fun by presenting the girls to the foundational elements of coding in a collaborative and engaging way,” Kylie said.

Year 1 teacher Georgi Eadie said that learning to code is also supporting the girls’ learning in other areas such as maths, reading, writing and science.

“There are links to what the girls are learning in other areas of the curriculum. For example, by the end of this term, the girls will have completed a coding project to design a maze.

“This will tie in with their learning in maths where they have been learning about directions. They will transfer this knowledge to their coding project later this term when they work on directing a character through their maze.

“In English, the girls are learning about sequencing and writing procedures. The importance of clear instructions in the correct order has become really apparent to them in their coding projects where they can see that they need the correct sequence of steps to achieve the desired outcome,” Georgi said.

The skills our Year 1s are developing through their coding lessons is equipping them for their 21st century learning journey and any future they choose.