Robots get kids talking in code

The Shire of Baronne in Queensland recently hosted a series of workshops in which twenty Ozobots – small light sensing robots – helped teach local children to code.  

Coding has been introduced to the school curriculum this year, and the State Library of Queensland (SLQ) has taken up the challenge of helping children, parents, and teachers get up to speed with the concept.

Teachers and children from across the Balonne Shire tried coding first hand thanks to the series of free workshops held by SLQ at the St George Library in late February.

Using coloured pens and a coding guide, approximately 40 children from Prep through to Grade Six had robots spinning, zig-zagging, turning left or right and navigating through their individually designed courses.

The benefits of learning to code are numerous: it teaches children to break large tasks down in to smaller chunks and perform tasks in order; it strengthens problem solving skills and logical thinking, and supports key academic subjects such as in the field of STEM - science, technology, engineering and maths.

Councillor Fiona Gaske said coding is an increasingly important skill to learn.

“Teaching children to code will equip them to face the workplace problems of tomorrow, with its ever increasing focus on digital technology and capability.

“It’s expected in the future that even jobs such as journalism and medicine will require basic programming and coding ability.”

The workshops have been well received, and interest in coding and robotics is growing.

Council has applied for two grants to deliver robotic and coding workshops throughout the Shire as part of a professionally developed and delivered program.

The Balonne Shire Council purchased two Ozobots as a trial. Based on their popularity, more are currently on order for the shire’s other Libraries.