Education charity The Smallpeice Trust’s Coding Success program has got off to a flying start to teach children about future technologies
A fully funded program designed to help teachers and students build confidence in coding and robotics made a fantastic debut in the 2021/22 school year, providing training to over 500 teachers across the UK using LEGO® Education Academy kits.
The initiative, coding successsupported over 300 schools with free teacher training courses, lesson plans and LEGO® Education SPIKE™ Prime kits to help students develop hands-on skills and bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds.
This program is specifically designed for 8-14 year olds attending government schools. Funded entirely by BAE Systems, the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, the program focused on underrepresented groups to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and technicians.
Developed for the three partners by educational organization The Smallpeice Trust and Raising Robots, an authorized LEGO® Education Partner, the program tasked students with a virtual humanitarian relief mission on a remote volcanic island in the South Atlantic. During the Earthquake Rescue Missionstudents had to successfully code their LEGO® Education SPIKE Prime robotic rescue vehicle to respond to an earthquake.
The program received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both students and teachers, with 92 percent of students surveyed saying they learned something new as a result coding success. The most common benefits children took away from the program were improved problem-solving skills and improved teamwork.
Richard Hamer, Education and Skills Director at BAE Systems said:
“As the demands for digital skills grow, coding is becoming an increasingly important area for young people to explore and use. Working with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force in support of the coding success program, we have given over 40,000 students a chance to learn how to code.
“In addition to digital skills, it was positive to see students developing other key skills such as problem solving and teamwork, all of which play an important role in the workplace. The program is designed to support the learning of these skills through guided hands-on activities.”
One of the most positive elements of the program has been its success in getting students interested in coding. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects have traditionally had barriers to entry for women, with fewer girls studying STEM subjects in school and therefore fewer women working in these fields. However, almost half of the students taught in this program were girls.
Oliver Smith, Science Engineer at Holmleigh Park High School, one of the participating schools, highly praised this and said:
“It’s great to see positive reactions and enthusiasm, especially from girls when my previous career in technical roles was heavily male dominated. I gave unsolicited feedback to a tutor about a student who was particularly enthusiastic and received the response: “It’s so positive for her as she gets a bit anxious at times.” This is for a seventh grade student with no other programming experience!”
A sixth year pupil at a primary school in Stoke Poges said:
“The best thing I did was try my code on the robot and then if it was wrong, see where I went wrong and enter the correct code.”
In addition to the positive feedback from the students, the program has been very successful in helping teachers to further their professional development. Of the 542 trained teachers, 282 were primary and 260 were secondary teachers. A three and a half hour training course, delivered by a LEGO® Education certified trainer, significantly boosted the teachers’ confidence, made them feel more comfortable using the material and underscored the fact that the program had a strong positive outcome, particularly among the students about their professional development.
As coding success As it prepares for a second year, the partners behind the program hope to expand its reach and bring coding lessons to even more children across the country. As coding success The goal remains to inspire the next generation of diverse and inclusive programmers.
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