Over 400 primary school students across Jamaica and Trinidad were last week engaged in fun coding workshops to boost their interest and understanding of computer science through The Hour of Code initiative.
The Hour of Code is a global movement organised by the non-profit Code.org and over 100 others, including the Seprod Foundation, the international partner for the Hour of Code in Jamaica. It is celebrated each year during Computer Science Education Week, and recognised this year during December 5 to the 11.
It is based on the belief that the students are ready to learn critical skills for 21st-century success.
“The Hour of Code is designed to demystify code and show that computer science is not rocket science – anybody can learn the basics,” said Hadi Partovi, founder and CEO of Code.org. “Over 100 million students worldwide have tried an Hour of Code. The demand for relevant 21st-century computer science education crosses all borders and knows no boundaries.”The Seprod Foundation and the Musson Foundation provided the guidance, resources and materials to companies from the Musson Group – General Accident, Productive Business Solutions (PBS), Seprod and AS Bryden and Sons in Trinidad. The activities included a combination of online activities using the CodeMonkey platform and an offline, paper-based activity, Graph Paper Programming provided by Code.org. The schools which participated included North Street Primary, Allman Town Primary, Calabar Primary, Drews Avenue Primary, Duhaney Park Primary, Reach Academy, YWCA Spanish Town and San Juan Presbyterian School in Trinidad.
Nicholas Henry, a teacher from Duhaney Park Primary, was pleased with the students’ response and progress.
“The students really enjoyed the session. They found it fun and were able to correct the mistakes on their own,” he commented.
“Working with the students was really interesting, and we were very impressed with how attentive they were to the knowledge, and how engaged they were. The teachers and principal were also very excited about the initiative and wanted to know how we might keep fostering the children’s interest in computer science and coding,” shared Garth Thompson, the organiser for PBS’s workshops at Calabar Primary.
Lisa D’Oyen, executive director of Seprod Foundation and Musson Foundation, said, “It is critical to ensure that our students are exposed to the skills that will be required for the careers of the future. We want to level the playing field and want our students in Jamaica and in the region to be competitive with any other student in the world. This is why Seprod Foundation and Musson Foundation are committed to bringing innovative learning experiences to primary school students in Jamaica. This year we were particularly excited to have AS Bryden and Sons join us by introducing an Hour of Code to students in Trinidad as well. We are looking forward to continuing to grow this movement across the Caribbean and Central America.”