Students at St. Alban???s Primary School in St. James are receiving training in coding, thanks to a visiting delegation from Columbus Girls??? School, Columbus, Ohio, United States.

The training, which started today for Class Threes and Fours, will see them being taught coding via the use of the XO Touch laptop tablet, a specially designed computer for children.

It is a small, robust and attractive piece of technology which is Wi-Fi enabled and allows for collaboration among students in the classroom.

Head of the delegation from Columbus Girls??? School, Christine Murakami, said it was not their first project outside the US, as they had also assisted the US Virgin Islands and Ghana. She added that her team had as its objective to see others, especially girls everywhere, understanding the value of Computer Science.

Stating that they were excited about teaching in Barbados she said: ???We are going to specifically teach the programme called Scratch, designed to be an introduction to computer programming for kids??? It is very kid-oriented; it is very easy to understand and you don???t have to type or worry about mis-spelling your words because everything is drag and drop and it???s like fitting puzzle pieces together.???

She added this would be followed next week by the students concentrating on a project for the island???s 50th Anniversary of Independence.

Information Technology Coordinator of the St. Albans School, Curtis McConney, said it would allow students to create something towards celebrating Independence at the school.

???We are doing two things. We are trying to get them to think logically, that is where the [computer] programming comes in, but we are also trying to integrate a part of our social studies syllabus and a part of our heritage as well, in bringing forward the 50th Anniversary celebrations within this project,??? he explained.

Pointing out that the computer programming was the first of its kind in a primary school, Mr. McConney added: ???Coding is a part of everything in ICT (Information Communications Technology). For every programme that exists it had to start with code. Code is the mortar or the foundation of every programme and something as simple as the operating system on your phone ??? for instance, Android ??? is made up of code???.the coding is what makes ICT possible??????

According to him, St. Alban???s was thinking of a game for the 50th Anniversary of Independence that would either be in the form of a multiple choice or True and False and based on facts about Barbados.

The thirty-five XO Touch laptops brought to the island by the delegation will all remain in Barbados at the disposal of the National Council for Science and Technology, for continual training of local primary school students.

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