I built my first computer when I was 12 years old, started coding soon afterwards and was on the internet playing games and building games in the late 80’s. A tour of my classroom would show that I am still taking apart devices and trying to figure out how they work. This is what our students want to be able to do, they want to be able to build a website, code a Minecraft mod or a Discord bot. They want to create their own games and share them with their friends, they want to build their own keyboards and express themselves through the choice of key color, key size, and mechanics, and build their own computers. Through these creations they develop digital fluency.
Since coming to LCIS last year, we have had from Year 9 to Year 11 students coding in Python. Thanks to our new staff member, Ms Vanisha Gorasia, and the school's commitment, we now have programmers in Years 9, 11 and 12, and by early February 2022, Year 10 students will also be programming. Our students have created wellbeing websites, websites that teach you how to build your own keyboard, they have programmed games and bots and taken apart laptops, keyboards and so on. They are learning about security and ethics in the digital field, about hacking and phishing, and they are pursuing all of this to finally be able to build their own Minecraft mod. And along the way they are developing all those other important skills that computer science fosters: computational thinking, algorithmic and mathematical skills, logic and the life skills of resilience, and reflection. In coding you learn to see your own errors, not let them be a self-judgment and reflect on how to correct them.
What can you do to nurture digital fluency at home?
Limit the interactive screen time, the reading time and encourage the creative time. Take something apart, there are lots of old computers at the dechetterie. The younger students can program with Scratch on their Ipads, encourage the older ones to program in any language they like, learn to code along with them.