How we tried to teach 25 kids how to code!!

Kutaisi, Georgia. 22nd-24th of Feb 2020

We introduce technology through a treasure hunt: mentors dress up as historic figures, and the large group is split in smaller groups. Each group searches for persons like Ada Lovelace, Steve Jobs, Julius Caesar, Margaret Hamilton, and Thomas Edison. The group gets a historic view on a topic, and answers a few question. As a reward they receive a part of their coding equipment, and at the end have a full mini computer. Images. Actual coding starts with the fundamentals of programming through a visual coding language, called Scratch. Scratch works with puzzle pieces to make the logical abstraction tangible. Students create so-called “sprites”, graphical figures which can move, and follow a certain logic. It’s drag-and-drop and students see the results immediately and visually. The same concepts of conditions, loops, and commands are the buildings blocks of any program. The process of making the program is fundamentally the same: trying things, identifying the problem fixing them. And then the time has come to switch to Python, a very popular and user friendly language. In order to proceed, they need to solve a project. Those less comfortable can continue their Scratch game, whereas other can solve problems from cryptography, morse code, in several stages. After these two days of training, there is a Hackathon where students can apply their skills to solve projects in a team. All work is done in small groups, and therefore students help each other out. At the end they learn to understand the context of technology, problem solving skills, team collaboration, and research skills. This introduction will hopefully help them for the rest of their lives to have an accurate understanding of technology.