Two Bundaberg teachers will be sharing their passion for robotics and coding statewide with their upcoming presentation at iEducate in Brisbane next week.
Samantha Ephraims from Kalkie State School and Melinda Clancy from Bundaberg East State School are passionate about STEM subjects and introducing robotics and coding technology into their classrooms.
The duo have been working together to share their knowledge and learning practices with Wide Bay teachers and will now get the chance to inform others throughout Queensland.
“iEducate is a state conference that invites educators to get together and talk about digital technologies and ways to implement it in school,” Samantha said.
“It is a bit of a one-stop-shop for teachers to find out more about digital technology.”
The pair will host a 90-minute seminar at the event, which was booked out completely by enthusiastic teachers wanting to know more about their practices.
“What we are doing is second nature to us but what we have realised is it is not something that everybody can just do,” Samantha said.
“This is about exposure and helping other teachers to understand the benefits, what it really looks like in a classroom and how engaged kids can become from this type of learning.”
Robotics and coding play a vital role in the classroom
It's not the first time the duo have shared their passion for coding, with the technology playing a big role in their own classrooms and beyond.
“We have been working for about three years to create a cluster with the other schools in this region for digital technology learning,” Melinda said.
“The children of today, in my opinion, have an attention span more directed to hands-on learning. It's a way in which the future is heading.
“In the classroom, children can learn many skills with robotics like resilience, team work and creative thinking.”
So how does robotics and coding work?
“It's writing a set of instructions that can be followed,” Samantha said.
“We are often writing codes for robotics or computers to follow but in our every day classes, sometimes coding can be about putting the rubbish in the bin- what steps do we need to create to make that happen?
“It is really about breaking things down into a sequence of steps, looking for problems and patterns, then extending those to make systems better.”
Coding picked up from library workshop
Samantha said her passion for coding came about after her children showed an interest during a local workshop.
“My own children did a coding workshop at the Bundaberg Library and from there I just saw how important it was for kids to understand,” she said.
“We have so many logical and visual thinkers in our classrooms and coding is a really good way to segment learning into small chunks and look for the patterns in the world.
“It gives a real world example of maths in action and is a good way for kids to get a handle on what maths can look like in a range of environments.”
Coding skills provide job opportunities
The duo said in the modern day world, coding and robotics skills were becoming more and more prevalent and providing better opportunities for young job seekers.
“I have nephews in their early 20s who have been snapped up for jobs because they have that skill and ability to break things down through coding,” Samantha said.
“People think that coding and robotics is a field that is very specific but coding skills are for every career path. These skills are going to be transferable.”
“I think it is important for all kids to access coding,” Melinda added.
“It is structured and broken down and the kids who might not be achieving in other areas of education are really flying in this area.”