Firetech and University College London – Coding Week

Learning to create with technology

You’ve been given some bananas, a few apples and a computer. Could you make music?

That was the challenge given to students at Notre Dame First School on a computer coding workshop, funded by Kusuma Trust Gibraltar. Students took part in practical experiments, like using circuits, electrical connectors and code to make musical sounds from fruit.

In 2016, we joined forces with technology course providers Firetech andUniversity College London on a programme encouraging students in Gibraltar to learn more about computing and coding. The aim was to get young people to create with technology, rather than simply consume it.

Following a successful pilot, we funded a week-long series of programmes for primary and middle school students. They learnt to code, create video games and robots, make animated films and wearable tech, compose music and 3D-print their own designs. The courses took a hands-on approach, encouraging critical thinking and collaboration under the expert guidance of specialist tutors.

We also introduced sessions for teachers. providing them with training, ideas and confidence to use some top tech kits and platforms to motivate their own students around computing.

  • Kusuma Trust Gibraltargave a grant of £9,000 for the pilot workshop in 2016 and £25,000 the following year for a week of workshops.
  • Over 600 students and 22 teachers from 12 schools have benefited from the main Coding Week courses.
  • We provided every school in the country with hand-held programmable robots, to encourage them to keep coding.

Developing digital literacy

“Coding is such an important skill in the modern world,” says Soma, Kusuma Trust’s Executive Trustee. “Many tech careers rely on it. We’ve encouraged our own children to learn and they really enjoy it. That’s why we wanted to support this project, helping many more children to have the opportunity to improve their futures.”

A student who took part in one of the workshops said: “It was a great experience to learn about technology and robots and I understood it all very well. I really think it was an awesome workshop. I wish we had more of these lessons in Gibraltar. Thank you very much for giving us this opportunity.”

The Coding Week programme was developed in response to a change in the UK national curriculum, which the education system in Gibraltar follows. In 2013,Information Communication Technology (ICT) was replaced with more up-to-date Computing curriculum. Pupils would need to get to grips with the fundamental concepts of computer science, digital literacy, coding and creating their own programs.

“Kusuma Trust has been instrumental in planting the seeds to make tech in schools flourish. Not only have they provided equipment but being part of their training and development sessions inspired me as a teacher to be more inventive in the way I taught coding to students.”

Stuart Borastero, Advisor at the Department of Education and former teacher

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