Written by Brian Dill
The field of programming and, specifically, coding and robotics is an immensely important one. As a veteran educator in the FET schools’ environment, I have taught both Information Technology and Computer Applications Technology for many years. The demand for these two computer subjects has increased massively in recent years. One of the reasons for this is the realisation that a person needs good computer skills to function effectively in the modern workspace.
As an educator who primarily teaches coding in Information Technology and who is also the lead teacher in our Grade 8 and 9 Coding and Robotics program, I have first-hand experience of the value that these subjects can add to a student’s life. The problem-solving skills they acquire help them to perform better in all their subjects, not only when they are coding. These are skills that they will carry with them throughout their eventual career and beyond.
I am extremely excited to be part of the team that has been developing teaching and learning materials for these new courses for the TVET sector. The combination of these three subjects will empower students with a wonderful skill set and I hope that one day the syllabi in the FET sector will develop something similar.
The hands-on experience that students gain when combining coding with robotics and electronics makes tackling what many people believe to be a really tough subject area, much less daunting. Students have great fun when engaging with the robotics element, and do not even realise that they are simultaneously involved in intense problem solving and learning to code. The environment is conducive to better skills acquisition as it is much less threatening than embarking on learning only a text-based programming language.
The process of designing solutions and learning to code is a highly creative one. This means it also appeals to the artistic design side of a person. The thrill of getting a robot or electronic circuit to perform successfully based on what you have instructed it to do is immensely rewarding. When a student receives such tangible positive feedback from the item they have produced, it immediately stimulates the desire to learn and do more. This study area comes with its own built-in reward system that fuels the desire to achieve more.
It is exciting to see coding and robotics being introduced to learners and students from quite a young age now. This will no doubt provide our country with a whole new generation of problem solvers and innovators. The added beauty is that learning to code using robotics and electronics has no age barrier. Anyone can embark on this rewarding path at any stage of their life.
I believe that this exciting new syllabus will prove to be very rewarding for both the lecturers and the students.
“Always curious, always learning” – Brian Dill
#coding #robotics #students #learners #computers #lecturers #TVET