How to catch code - stress free computing

David Whyley

David is an inspirational and motivational leader in the fast changing and complex world of educational technology. Having over 35 years of experience as a teacher and educationalist in the City of Wolverhampton means his work is firmly rooted in hands on pedagogy. He is a former Primary Head teacher, leader of the BETT award winning Wolverhampton City Learning Technologies Team and is now CEO of his own successful technology consultancy company.

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GVeteran teacher David Whyley shares his thoughts on the right ways to teach coding: why it can be fascinating, fun and even smash stereotypes.

Computer programming and coding as a topic can be viewed as dry, so it is essential that schools deliver the new curriculum in a creative and exciting way. It is also a great chance for teachers and pupils to break the stereotype of computer programmers. The person to invent the first compiler (programme) was, in fact, female, so do shout out equality in order to encourage the right sort of creative thinkers in this growing global industry.

Pupils take their lead from their teacher, so it is also important that staff are enthusiastic about coding and convey that excitement to pupils. Coding is all about sequential and logical thinking, so taking a step-by-step progression through the topic is also extremely helpful to pupils. Learning also needs to be relevant to today’s world. There is a danger that unless pupils feel that they are tackling authentic real world programming tasks (such as using the accelerometer in the iPad) they will lose interest.

The good news, in my experience working within schools, is that there is a wealth of advice, support and exciting new software such as Espresso Coding, Scratch and Kodu which can engage and enthuse. The only issue for the pupils is how to continue their learning beyond the end of the lesson. Some software has the ability to publish and share built-in apps. Alternatively, schools could look to link work to an existing safe online learning environment. Either way, there is a great opportunity with coding to let the excitement generated in the classroom carry on at home.

David Whyley will be speaking at Bett 2014 on Thursday 23 January, from 13:30 to 14:15 Schools Learn Live Theatre 3, Bett 2014, Excel, London.

Photo credit: Cype_Applejuice

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