Computer Coding and Computational Thinking in a Rural K-12 School
Presented by: Dinsmore School
Computers are a nearly omnipresent facet of modern life, so much so that people who can’t use technology can have a hard time functioning in society. Therefore, it seems only reasonable that we begin to teach our children technological literacy. Dinsmore School’s principal Jade Ballek has realised this and started a coding club to try and engage her students, but also herself, through learning about and applying computational thinking.
The first thing that stood out to me was the great variety of people in the club. From grade 3 to grade 10, and having a roughly equal number of girls as boys. Women are famously underrepresented in IT, but I’ve definitely noticed a happy trend towards a more inclusive IT industry.
The session began with the students introducing themselves and with a short speech from the principal which explained the origin of the club. We then broke off into different stations which each showcased one of the various ways in which the students were participating in computer science. From LEGO Mindstorm robotics to game development with the unreal engine, the students were doing a whole lot.
I was greatly pleased to see that what is now arguably a life skill is making it out to rural communities. Computational thinking is about a lot more than simply writing code; it’s a way of logical problem solving, and incorporates a great deal of math. This just goes to show how innovations can be brought from rural communities to urban ones, not just the inverse.
By: KIENAN ASHTON