Tue | Feb 20, 2018

Students get free coding classes by Seprod Foundation

Published:Friday | December 15, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Marvin Hall of Halls of Learning explains the coding steps to these students.

More than 400 students were excited to welcome team members from the Seprod Foundation and Halls of Learning who visited their schools and conducted free sessions on coding during Computer Science Week held from December 4 to 8, 2017.

In addition, approximately 3,000 students from five selected primary schools in Kingston were treated to popular Seprod snack items during the visits. The five participating schools included Allman Town Primary, North Street Primary, Calabar Primary, Clan Carthy Primary and Holy Family Primary.

Facilitators from the Seprod Foundation and educational services company, Halls of Learning conducted two one-hour sessions at each school, with a maximum of 40 students at each session. All training material, including tablets, were also provided.

The annual Hour-of-Code initiative is a one-hour computer coding lesson with an introduction to the Swift programming language, using Swift Playgrounds, a freely available software application

One of the highlights of the 2017 Hour-of-Code project included the attendance of four local celebrities who were also taught how to code; then video footage of their participation was uploaded to YouTube. The artistes were Protoje, DJ Bambino, Ingrid Riley and Emprezz Golding. So impressive was Protoje's participation that code.org posted his video on its Twitter feed.

Seprod Foundation has been promoting the Hour-of-Code for the past three years and it builds on their work of promoting innovative learning experiences to children in Jamaica. The Foundation has supported the Jamaican Girls Coding initiative and has given teacher training in coding so far to 300 teachers in Jamaica.

"This means that a number of schools are well positioned to access Hour-of-Code material and provide their students with a great learning experience on their own," said Melanie Subratie, director of the Seprod Foundation. "The Hour of Code activities provide students with good opportunities to learn and, hopefully, spike their interest in pursuing computer programming in the future," she added.

For the past 30 years, Seprod Foundation has been providing scholarships and more recently began to play a role in bringing innovative learning experiences to Jamaican children. Among the major local projects that have received support are the National Youth Orchestra, Jamaican Girls Coding, Debate Mate, Toy Inventors Workshop, Scratch Day, Hour-of-Code Coding Gallery, in addition to professional development opportunities for teachers.

"We believe that these investments in the human capital of Jamaica will not only inspire more careers in science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics, but equip our country for a more rewarding future," Subratie said.