‘Hour of Code’ to spark students’ interest in computer science |17 May 2017
Secondary and post-secondary students who have an interest in programming and software development attended an event held as part of the activities to commemorate ICT week launched on Monday.
This activity, which is part of a global movement to celebrate computer science, was organised jointly by Microsoft, DICT (Department of Information and Communication Technology), Ministry of Education and the University of Seychelles.
The principal secretary (PS) for information and communication technology (ICT) Benjamin Choppy officially opened the ‘Hour of Code’ event yesterday at the UniSey IT Centre, Mont Fleuri in the presence of key educations officers, Microsoft representative, teachers and students.
The Hour of Code started as a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code, to show that anybody can learn the basics, and to broaden participation in the field of computer science.
Over 10 secondary and post-secondary schools took part in this event where they learned the basic steps of coding through the mine craft game.
PS Choppy said its activities and tutorials are designed in such a way that are engaging and fun so as to encourage the youth to take up programming.
“It is an introduction to the basics of computer science...We see it as the type of activity that can generate that initial spark in students which will make them interested in finding out how software really works and provide them with the motivation to learn more and eventually become fully fledged technical professionals in this field,” he said.
He stated that they wanted to make the Hour of Code a permanent event in the yearly ICT week activities.
The director of ICT support services in the Ministry of Education Rosalind Denys said they decided to repeat this event in ICT week as the first Hour of Code held last year was highly successful.
“We want the students to be exposed to programming and coding so that they can later decide if they want to follow a career path in this domain. This initiative also serves as an opportunity for them to develop their critical thinking and problem solving skills which they may not have been able to do so at school,” she said.
She said that since the turn out is very high, they are reviewing their resources to see if there is a possibility to hold another Hour of code later this year.
Microsoft country manager for the Indian Ocean region Laurence Janssens said they really believe that coding is a skill that will be necessary to all digital natives.
“The idea is also to showcase that code is accessible to anyone so you don’t need to be a computer science major to be able to do coding,” she said.
Plaisance Secondary 4 (S4) student Daryl Adolphe said this event is a very exciting opportunity as he will learn new things in IT which he would not be able to learn at school.
“Ever since I touched a computer device when I was still a child I knew my life would be dealing with computers,” he said.