Coders: the engineers & builders of the digital age
Its being a while since I last posted something and we are well and truly into winter now…. the nights have drawn in, snow has already fallen, the autumnal colours have been, lingered then gone, and we have had our fantastic Illuminating York event.
Last October we held our first big CodeYork event at York Explore where we successfully enabled many local children to learn to code, to create their own app, play with raspberry pi’s and win exciting prizes. (You can recap the day through Linz’s blog)
With that in mind, we were keen to celebrate the first anniversary, and with Virgin Media and Free Formers, we flung open the doors of our HQ to welcome in 50 + very keen and enthusiastic coders of all ages for Upload Live.
For this event, we split the coders into groups as we had set up 4 very exciting ‘challenge’ rooms designed to enable participants to develop their digital skills further. The very first of these rooms in play was the ‘CODE’ zone. The ‘CODE’ zone was designed to teach participants to build their own ‘About me’ page from scratch using HTML and CSS.
The groups then swapped over and the group that had been working on their web page now moved into the ‘SOCIAL’ zone. This zone started with some fun around a selfie competition challenge. This then rolled into perceptions & the opportunities to utilise social media to be a fun social tool in kick starting/boosting careers, and for brand promotion activities.
The sessions continued in the afternoon with the groups facing the final 2x challenge rooms. Up next for one team was the ‘CYBER’ zone. ‘CYBER’ was designed around digital security and how extremely fragile data safety is online. Teams learnt about how to be safer online, and about how to protect their own data better, especially by learning the tricks of the trade around how to find your data online.
The final challenge left to face, was the ‘LAB’ zone, covering apps, concepts, and collaborating to create winning ideas. As part of their entry, groups had to consider factors like interface, and what market the app would fulfil. From each group, 3 teams would be selected to enter a competition at the end of the day to win exciting and unique prizes.
In addition to this event, our CodeYork team have also continued their engagement with schools across the city to help spread the code word. And we were delighted to launch a brand new code club at the Mount School in their primary school area last week – creating a club within an all girls school in York. This is a very exciting development given that coding is predominately perceived as a male profession at the moment, and this clearly needs to change. So I’m very much look forward to seeing the local tech scene here in York being a strong reflection of this being addressed, and us becoming a great example of creating the platform for this change to happen.
We have also seen the launch of an Advanced CodeYork club at Millthorpe School where we trialled one of our early club’s back in 2015! and following our campaign to establish a group of willing volunteers to help us run these clubs, I am really pleased to say that this one is being led by two local university students – a big thanks to Graham Campbell & Jack Romo.
Its curriculum has been created specially to challenge the young people at the school who are keen to progress their developing tech skills with a focus on an industry styled experience of product design & development. We have had great feedback from the young people & their head of ICT who loved the 1st session, so much so, that it ran on for longer as some of the pupils hung back to ask questions about what they had built and how they could upgrade it further – its fantastic to see such enthusiasm.
After seeing and hearing the great feedback, I look forward to seeing more and more schools offer opportunities, and I gather the next 3 schools are coming in January 2017!
As we move further forward through the 21st century, skills like coding and robotics will become essential as they become increasingly prevalent within our society, and is why our coders will be labelled the ‘builders and creators of the digital age’.
We all know that code is what shapes our websites, our applications, our computers, and our games. But now, code can shape physical chairs and tables and other objects using 3D printers. It can control the drones that operate home delivery services, robots that deliver our takeaways (currently being trialled in London at least!), to the haulage truck convoys that now self drive across countries and continents!
This is why programmes like CodeYork, that make coding accessible, rewarding and fun will become the norm worldwide and I am extremely proud that we in York are the first to achieve this. It demonstrates the importance and need for councils like us to intervene when the market has a gap or a niche like it has, to ensure that local residents do not miss out on essential and innovative services that will enrich lives and offer doubtless opportunity for all.
Until the next time,