The free 'Espresso Coding' service has an exciting schools competition to support Hour of Code week
is putting its weight behind the Hour of Code [UK] campaign with a app competition for UK primary schools to tie in with the national week of action – March 3-9.
“We are very pleased to be working with the Hour of Code [UK] and to support their campaign, we aim to get as many primary pupils as possible to create and publish apps which can be entered into our competition” said Espresso founder Lewis Bronze. “Some schools are worried about the new computing curriculum. We hope that by working with us and our Espresso Coding service they will see that it’s very manageable – and fun too.”
Celebrating 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web
Lewis Bronze, who picked up the Outstanding Achievement award at BETT 2014, explained that the timing of the Hour of Code event is set to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the World Wide Web (the graphical, browser-based experience of the internet familiar to most users).?
The Espresso competition has been split into four categories:
- Best app for 7 and under - creative use of the features available from Year 3 and under;
- Best app for 8 to11-years-olds - creative use of the features available from Year 6 and under;
- Best use of tablet functions and gestures for 7 and under - creative use of the features available specifically on mobile devices from Year 3 and under;
- Best use of tablet functions and gestures for 8 to 11-year-olds - creative use of the features available specifically on mobile devices from Year 6 and under.
The winners in each category will be supported by Espresso in getting their apps into the iTunes and Google Play app stores. And there will also be some Espresso Coding goodies up for grabs, such as Bluetooth wireless keyboards, protective iPad sleeves and mobile device desk holders.
Schools can sign up and get access to Espresso Coding very quickly by visiting www.espressocoding.co.uk, which currently has an extended free period until October 2014 so there are no costs involved for schools. The competition can be accessed via the browser on any desktop computer or laptop browser, and by any Apple iOS mobile device (compatibility with Android and Windows 8 devices is on the way). The service is very easy to use and its development was led by Max Wainewright whose work with 2Simple is already very well known to many teachers.
Hour of Code is an initiative that originated in the US and claims to have already reached 26,950,364 students who "have done the Hour of Code and written 979,350,348 lines of code" – 49 per cent of those students are girls. It was set up with the target of reaching 10 million students in the US
'UK Hour of Code is a great way to help teachers get a head start' – Niel Mclean
The UK Hour of Code describes itself as "a one-hour intro to computer science that has been designed to demystify code during March 3-9, 2014. Every student will learn the basics to be a maker, a creator, an innovator." Its website hosts tutorials and support materials.
Schools could be forgiven for being confused by current coding initiatives. The Government has just put £500,000 into a hastily put together Year of Code which hit trouble when its director, Conservative activist Lotte Dexter, revealed to Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight that she knew little about coding and, in fact, had never tried it. Next year, 2015. will also be a year of "digital technology and computer coding", this one run by the BBC .
Despite the politics and the bandwagons however, there has been a broad welcome to the entry of computer science, of which coding is just one element, to the curriculum. And to Hour of Code too. Niel Mclean, head of education at e-skills UK, commented: "UK Hour of Code is a great way to help teachers get a head start in preparing for the introduction of computer science to the school curriculum.
"The teaching resources are designed with no prior experience in mind, so teachers can introduce students to the exciting life-changing skill of coding without needing to be computing experts themselves."
How to enter
The entry form will be available from March 3 at www.espressocoding.co.uk/hourofcode. Teachers or pupils will need to complete a short form to enter their app, including a brief description. All entries will be displayed on dedicated key stage category pages and winners will be notified by March 12. Agent4change.net is delighted to support this competition and will help judge one of the categories.
Hour of Code UK
Hour of Code UK Teachers' Guide