2012: Year of Code?

Code

Last October Aleks Krotoski, presenter of of The Guardian’s Tech Weekly podcast, chaired a series of special “Tech City” talks. The first of these was on Skills and Education (Audio recording here) and the panelists, which included David Willets, all criticised to current Schools ICT Curriculum by stating that it didn’t actually include any coding. This issue has been raised recently by many commentators but was highlighted by Google Chairman Eric Schmidt’s criticism of British Education at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, and the fact that it was the “Google View” perhaps gave it more prominence than it would otherwise have had.

Well, perhaps by coincidence, there are now two free online initiatives that are trying to change this. The first that I came across was the Joy of Code — an online tutorial from Michael Kölling of the University of Kent at Canterbury that is using Greenfoot and Java and is aimed at people who:

Want to find out how to write a computer game; [are] Interested in learning programming; Curious about object-oriented programming and Java; Heard about Greenfoot, but don’t really know what it is [or are] Teaching programming to others.

The course was announced on January 1st and there have already been 7 episodes!

The second is a sort of online correspondance course from US-based Code Academy called Code Year. You just need to go to the site and leave your email address. The course will start on 9th January. I suspect it will use JavaScript but I could be wrong.

As a teacher of coding and developer of code throughout my career, I shall be watching both with interest and playing along. And if you want to learn to code, why not join me?

Author: cpjobling

Senior lecturer, College of Engineering, Swansea University