Last Sunday 1st February, at the Betsson Experience Centre you could hear a pin drop. You wouldn't have imagined that a whole class of kids were in the building. As we approached the class their focus was evident. The children were all deeply focused on the task at hand and big beaming smiles alternated frustrated coding huffs as they worked through the bugs to make things work, creating a maze game. All seemed happy and many co-operated to help resolve each-others' problems, smiles beamed across the room.
Miss Zandra Zetterstrand managed to not only draw in the children and get them excited about the project, but also created a healthy collaborative environment which forms the basis of good team work. She flew out from Sweden to organise the 8 hour, 2 session workshop over 2 days, that aimed to teach our Betsson kids the basics of coding and a little more. The course was based on free online resources provided by Harvard Education for children aged 9 to 12.
The online package is called Scratch and was created to help children understand the principles of object oriented programming. It is available for free at scratch.mit.edu, together with practice cards here at http://scratch.mit.edu/help/cards/
Zandra created a booklet that the kids were encouraged to follow based on resources available online. She has plenty of experience working on similar projects and is a very experienced teacher, teaching similar classes full-time back home in Sweden.
The children also enjoyed treats and goodies during a well-deserved break which helped them wind down and get to know each other a little better.