Ever since I was about 6 years of age I have loved computing. My first computer was a BBC Micro B and it had a 5 1/4 inch floppy disk drive with disks that were as delicate as Granny’s good china.
I can remember being given a book with little blocks of code in it, BBC Basic code, little pieces of code to make a red square on screen or to make a match stick man run across the screen. I was hooked. Not only did I make that Red Square but I wanted to know how I could make it Blue, and when I made it Blue, I wanted to make it a blue triangle using my imagination to discover how to manipulate the code.
Back then we had a computer at the back of the classroom which when we were good, had all our work done and the teacher wanted to reward us, we got some computer time, to play Treasure Hunt or Chuckie Egg. Roll on 30 years and that hasn’t changed a whole lot, most classrooms in the country have a computer or two in the classroom, which is used for a little bit of research, downloading off the web or for entertainment purposes. And why is that, well simply, put computers have no place on the curriculum, it doesn’t “fit in”.
But now Ready Steady Code is set to change all that. RSC is the spectacular brainchild of Seamus O’Neill, co-author of Mathemagic and himself a School Teacher of 40 years. RSC has identified new and exciting ways to put the maths curriculum together with a free coding platform called Scratch which was developed in MIT Media Lab is an interdisciplinary research laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I have worked on several projects with Seamus over the last 18 years and I am proudly responsible for the web development and online marketing of Ready Steady Code.
RSC enables teachers to teach maths using scratch as a tool to visually demonstrate the solution of maths problems in the same way that they would with a chalk an blackboard only, far more interactivity, making it easier for children to test equations, see the solutions and manipulate numbers.
Ready Steady Code is already being embraced in schools in England who have Computer Science on their curriculum. Now is the time for the Irish Education System to sit up and take heed of the fact that computers aren’t on the curriculum and the answers age old argument that “it cant be” has been answered and the time has come to get kids coding with this new, fun interactive, thought provoking and most importantly of all educational method!