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The first cohort of teachers to pass through the Erdiston Teachers’ Training College’s (ETTC) Coding and Robotics Workshop have been given a passing grade.

Approximately 45 secondary school teachers demonstrated what they learnt in the form of educational games and digital products during two virtual showcases entitled: Starting from Scratch – An Introduction to Coding. The first showcase was held last Friday and the second one, yesterday.

The workshop, which started on Monday, May 4, and comprised 10 sessions, was administered virtually.

Coding and Robotics is a new course the Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training will be piloting in all secondary schools and select nursery and primary schools from September 2020.

Teachers not only gained knowledge about coding to pass on to their students but they also created fun and engaging digital products which will aid with teaching the curriculum.

Many of the products are in the form of games which reinforce 21st century skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, communications and collaboration, creativity and innovation.

Minister of Education, Santia Bradshaw, told participants she was impressed with the quality of work she had seen.

“I want you all to see yourselves as ambassadors for this programme. You are the first cohort to have come through this initial training, therefore, there is a saying ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’ and I suspect there will be lots expected of all of you. And, I am sure that you will be ready and willing, no doubt, to meet a number of the expectations that we have of you in helping others as well; other teachers who will come on board and who also want to be a part of this transformation.

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“[Today’s showcase] is really giving a sneak peek to the rest of Barbados as to what is on the horizon for young people when they can finally return to the classroom, hopefully in September,” she stated, adding that the workshop was part of government’s push towards education reform.

Chairman of the Ministry’s Education Reform Committee, Dr. Idamay Denny, said the digital products created by the teachers would be used across the educational system.

She pointed out that the participating teachers had shown “amazing” competency in coding in a short period of time.

“Not only have you learnt about the art of coding but you have learnt the utility of applying it to the preparation of lessons…. I want to congratulate you. You have shown how you can use [coding] throughout the curriculum; you have developed products that have multiple features [and that] can let the students move at their own pace. There is immediacy of feedback and you have aligned the products with particular situations that are issues in individual school environments so you have given thought to how you can solve problems in your school environments,” she said.

Dr. Denny noted that judging from the participants’ level of engagement in the Coding Workshop, it was inevitable that students would be just as excited about coding.

“That is what we want; we want children to be so engaged that they don’t have time for all the negative things,” she stated. Dr. Denny disclosed that the next step would be to provide training for teachers in Robotics.


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