Introducing simple software programming concepts, to students in Grades 4-8, sparks an interest and a curiosity within the Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) sector. That’s the primary goal of our program and we are building tremendous momentum!
Our secondary goal is to encourage our code club members to explore educational pathways and careers within ICT. How can HWCDSB and HWDSB teachers do this? Well, it’s pretty easy. Contact the Industry-Education Council of Hamilton and request guest speakers to help bring your curriculum to life.
Our team does the leg work and matches your needs with the appropriate career mentor. The Hamilton community is full of business leaders that are keen to talk about their passions which, in hopes, will lead your students on a pathway into this booming industry.
On behalf of the Industry-Education Council of Hamilton, our Board of Directors, and our community partners – a big thank you to Bentley Systems Canada for their financial contribution to the HCC program.
Rob Prouse, Advisory Software Engineer at Bentley Systems Canada, has supported HCC for a few years now. He takes his time to mentor the future ICT workforce, by running clubs within our community, and recently, he submitted a STEM application to his company to provide support to our program.
We are excited to announce that this grant went through and our program now has the resources to purchase additional technology to support our core HCC program as well as our robotics module!
Words cannot describe what the HCC program has been able to accomplish this year. Almost 1,600 students, in Grades 4-8, were introduced to simple software programming!!
We continue to be in awe of the support that our program has received – from funding bodies, to multi-level support for both school boards, to community partners and last but definitely not least – our amazing volunteer mentors, who take time out of their busy schedule to invest in our children.
Over the course of the 2016-2017 school year, our core HCC introductory program was delivered at 35 local schools’. We introduced a new module “Introduction to Robotics”, late spring, and through this ‘soft launch’ 11 schools actively explored educational pathways and careers in robotics. Our partnership with HPL’s Circuit 4.0 provided the opportunity to pilot five weekend workshops, which saw 64 budding ‘coding ninjas’ in attendance.
Finally, we hosted our inaugural “CODEfest” which was a reach ahead event for our club members. This was their ‘track and field’ and allowed the to continue to explore the vast world of ICT.
Thank you to everyone who is involved in this project. The levels of student engagement/re-engagement continue to amaze us. Folks, we are sparking an interest in software programming and planting the seed to ensure that we have a strong ICT future workforce.
Have a wonderful summer and we can’t wait to see all of you in the fall!
Beth Gibson, Project Consultant
Back in January 2016, we had an idea. We wanted to provide our Hamilton Code Clubs members with a unique event that would allow them to continue to explore the world of ICT – from an educational pathway and careers perspective. Fast forward to June 6, 2017 and our idea became a reality.
We held CODEfest 2017 – where we introduced club members to dynamic speakers (Meg Smith, Parallel; Kristin Raad, ArcelorMittal Dofasco; Kevin Browne, Professor & Entreprenuer; and Nella Andreoli, ArcelorMittal Dofasco) who all have different backgrounds ranging from senior designer, software applications specialist, professor and entrepreneur, IT manager.
Members then had the opportunity to participate in interactive learning sessions where they could continue to level up their coding knowledge. From an education standpoint, HWCDSB’s Bishop Ryan Robotics Club introduced programming from the high school level. McMaster University and Mohawk College provided an overview of their courses, through hands-on activities, and various community partners, including: The Hamilton Public Library, Mathstronauts, McMaster Local Community Awareness Group, and Fair Change Learning provided students with tremendous reach ahead opportunities to continue to ignite their spark of interest in ICT.
All in all, we had over 200 participants, ranging from our club members, supervising teachers, community partners and our funders. This is only the beginning folks. We are already planning CODEfest 2018 which will provide even more innovation and community partnership!
Today an amazing event occurred. As I was walking around checking the progress of personal projects, I witnessed a senior coding wizard, who had been part of the program before, mentor someone who was completely new to programming and needed some help.
It dawned on me that we are not only teaching coding, we are teaching students to be leaders in the ICT sector. In the ICT industry, technical skills are important but just as important or more so is the ability to communicate ideas clearly.
It was refreshing to see that our fellow club members are gaining both technical and communication skills and are comfortable enough to teach others. I couldn’t help but smile when I saw this happen, it gave me a great sense of community within the club. Lots of the coders don’t usually interact with each-other, however the code club brings them together and allows them to mentor one another.
We all have moments when we think of something great, when we just solved a problem and a light goes off in our heads. Today, that happened to one of the club members. They were stuck on getting a character to move the way that they intended, so they asked the student sitting next to them. The helpful coder said “If you want the character to keep moving, don’t you need to repeat it?”. As soon as they finished the sentence it looked like a giant light bulb went off in their head as they said “I need a repeat forever!!”.
This is just one example of many that illustrates how important it is to work together. I was really proud to see that with just a small nudge in the right direction they figured out exactly what needed to be done. Coding can really give a great sense of accomplishment and I could tell this is exactly how the coder felt because of the smile they had after figuring it out.
Have you ever been so focused on doing something that time just flies by? Our very own coding ninjas were so focused today that at the end of the session they couldn’t believe how fast it went. I couldn’t help but smile when one of the club members said “Noooooo! I don’t want it to be finished yet!”. The rest of the coders couldn’t help but agree that they wanted more time.
This was amazing to hear from a facilitator stand point because the students had been so focused and enjoyed coding so much that they couldn’t wait for the next code club so they could continue. I told them that when we get really focused on working on something I like to call this “the zone”.
The Hopscotch app is one of the students’ favourite software applications to use during the Hamilton Code Club. What makes the app so effective is that it offers easy to use coding blocks, but still provides programming logic through loops, variables, and if statements. Thus, enhancing the user’s understanding of programming.
After the first few weeks of formal lessons, the students had the option to decide between various software applications for their independent projects. At first, the students that were using Hopscotch would re-create the Crossy road tutorial, while others would play around with the coding blocks to get a better understanding of the application. Once they got more familiar with the application, their unique thinking and creativity started to flourish. The games the students had created were done with a high degree of patience and accuracy. They were creating elegant backgrounds, multiple characters/obstacles, and most importantly using loops and if statements to help execute their code. A select number of students went above and beyond the standard by creating score variables to keep track of the current score in their game. As a result, the students created unique and complex video games, but more importantly gained a stronger understanding of software programming and coding logic.
Saad Khan, Mentor/Facilitator
We are pleased to launch our new website. Some things are the same, but you will notice that we have expanded our program offerings with respect to modules and weekend workshops!
We encourage you to visit our site often to learn more about opportunities for students, in grades 4-8, to learn more about software programming.
To date we have offered our Introduction to Coding, 8-week module, to over 30 local schools within both the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board and the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board. If you wish to participate in this growing movement, please contact us!
During one of my code clubs today students continued to amaze and surprise me. My favorite part about being a mentor for the Hamilton Code Clubs is being able to see your fellow club members grow each and every week. Since the coding wizards started on their independent projects I have seen their problem-solving skills sky rocket to a height I just can’t believe. Walking around today looking at their projects was a huge eye-opener for what these junior developers can achieve when they put their creative minds to work. I have noticed the students ask less questions each week, showing clear signs of individual problem solving. One of my mentees asked me a question today and half way through asking a huge light went off in their eyes and they figured it out all on their own. They proceeded to run back to their desk eager to continue on their project. Being able to witness this progression as a mentor is simply amazing.
Jacob Metcalf, Mentor/Facilitator