What Do We Learn Through Coding?

At Santa Maria College, our Years 7 and 8 students are fortunate to be able to choose one of two Digital Technologies subjects – Creative Media or Robotics & Coding. We believe both subjects offer rich experiences to create amazing things with technology. In Technology & Commerce, staff have been working to implement the attributes of creativity and collaboration into our tasks as part of ongoing professional development.

Year 8 student, Matilda Thomson, has just completed the National Computer Science Schools Challenge (NCSS) with a perfect score of 400 points. This puts her on the National Leaderboard for the Challenge which was completed in her Robotics & Coding class. This Challenge is part of the course, where students solve a series of problems using computer programs. The girls have been solving these problems using Python programming code with the help of tutorials, ‘failing forward’, clues and collaboration. Matilda’s insights are below.

Why is coding an important skill to learn?

Coding is an important skill to learn as coding is such a massive part of the lives of many people and their jobs. These days, basically every job involves at least basic coding, and in the future, it will definitely become an even larger part of the world. Already robots are performing surgeries and there are self-driving cars. What does the future hold? Coding also teaches us the ability to problem solve and think creatively and logically. It instils in us determination and perseverance which are both important life skills. Coding will increase your skill set and broaden your opportunities when you graduate.

What did you learn through the NCSS Challenge?

I have learnt about variables and how to ask for input through code and how to make the code interactive. I have looked at drawing objects such as triangles in code and changing their size and colour. It’s taught me the skills of determination and how to think logically and creatively, also how to problem solve. It’s made me remember to check and edit my work more! In the last few modules I have learnt more about using ‘return’ and replacing letters and words in my codes.

What has been difficult about the NCSS Challenge, and how have you overcome these difficulties?

Some programs have been particularly difficult, and I have spent many days trying to work them out. Some of the difficult aspects of this challenge are using time management to keep up to date with all the modules and making sure I have completed the module by the end of the week, so I do not have to catch up. Some of the ways I overcame difficulties such as these is through editing and checking my work carefully especially on the marked tasks. I have also asked for help more and tried to ask others for their view when I am stuck on a harder task.

How can you use what you have learnt in the future?

As I touched on earlier, coding is an essential part of basically every job. The values I have learnt will also help me in future situations and jobs. They will help me to stay focused and achieve more. These skills will help me to be able to understand more code in the future as I have now learnt all the basics and hopefully, I will be able to utilise these skills in my future jobs.

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