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Adults learn computer coding at Leeds Library Fest

By Tom Rogers

Leeds adults have had the opportunity to delve into the world of computer coding as part of a city wide Library festival.

Leeds Central Library recently held ‘Anyone Can Code’, a workshop, teaching adults similar coding skills to what children are now expected to learn as part of the national curriculum.

Participants had the opportunity to use the coding system, Scratch, which is a programming tool created for children.

Scratch allows youngsters to learn basic coding through creating their own games.

Chris Wilson, Senior development Officer for Leeds City Council, who ran the workshop said: “I’ve been running a bunch of events for about a year now, starting with teaching people how to code and run an android game.

“A bunch of teachers and parents kept coming to me and asking me about Scratch and what their kids are learning in school about programming, so we decided to put on a bunch of sessions for them.

“Scratch teaches people the core concepts of coding and because it is a skill set that’s universal over all languages, it’s important to be offered the opportunity to learn.”
Certain high schools and primary schools across the country started to teach coding years before it was added to the national curriculum in key stage 1.

Angelina Masih, 19, who was taught coding during her time at Highdown high school in Reading, said: “I think coding is important and we should learn it, my school focussed on getting subjects out there that people needed to learn, so even though it wasn’t in the national curriculum yet, they felt it was a vital skill.

“Scratch is quite simplified, it’s the basic building blocks of coding. If I didn’t start on it, I would have found learning to code a lot more difficult.

“There are different systems to teach you, but scratch made me think in a way that is logical and helped me ease into something that seems so hard.”

Coding was introduced to the national curriculum three years ago and is gradually being implemented into schools.

Karen Jessop, a year four teacher from Durham Lane Primary School in Eaglescliffe, has teaching Espresso Coding for three years. A programme similar to Scratch, which is used from years one – six, which also shows how to build complex systems through activities.

She said: “I think that it’s a good thing to be added to the curriculum because it sets them up for better job opportunities, it certainly hasn’t done them any harm and it helps them with life skills such as instructions and ordering.

“The kids really enjoy it, and they pick it up really quickly. Usually it’s broken down into quite a lot of simple steps but most of them whizz through it.

“We’ve been teaching it for three years now, ever since it came into the curriculum. I don’t know what other schools are doing, I think computing hasn’t really been changed in some places yet.”

As this is a new aspect of education, some teachers are learning coding just ahead of the children. Karen added: “We haven’t done too much training on it yet because there’s so much to take on board with the new curriculum but that’s quite a good part of it, because we can use the expertise on this programme to help us teachers to learn too.”


Watch Below: After attending the workshop, see how two twenty-somethings coped with Scratch

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