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Kiwi kids attempt world record - to get the most kids coding in 24hrs

14 Aug 2017

Kiwi kids all over the country will attempt to set a new world record this Tuesday - to get the most kids coding in 24 hours.

Moonhack is a global hackathon for kids that aims to set the world record for getting the most children coding in a 24-hour period.

Launched by Code Club Australia last year, Moonhack is open to all children, from complete novices to experienced coders.

Last year, more than 10,000 students participated in Moonhack and this year the event has gone global with students all over the world set to participate on Tuesday, 15 August.

Code Club Aotearoa general manager Michael Trengrove says Code Club is helping New Zealand reach its digital potential by encouraging children to combine their imaginations with an understanding of programming, empowering the next generation to take their incredible inventions to the world.

Code Club Aotearoa is a part of the wider Code Club World movement with the New Zealand branch growing from a small computer lab in Aranui, Christchurch in 2014.

Trengrove adds, “We have been blown away by the interest from teachers and school leaders in New Zealand to use the event as a step closer to the new normal - digital technologies as part of everyday life in the New Zealand primary schools.”

“More than 23,000 school children from 24 countries have signed up for Moonhack so far and New Zealand has nearly 4000 students all around the country taking part with some entire schools involved, such as Papakaio Primary in North Otago.”

Papakaio Primary’s principal Gary Shirley sees the importance of moving ahead in the digital world to allow students to learn how to create digital solutions for problems in their own community.

“They have been on a real journey offering training for teachers in their community of learning and getting buy-in from the rural farming community who see these skills are now vital for their students,” Shirley says.

“Moonhack is an exciting opportunity for students to experience the thrill of using code to solve problems and with the recent Ministry of Education announcement of Digital Technologies becoming a part of the primary school curriculum it is a great chance for teachers to dip their feet in the water alongside their students.”

Shirley says to help schools get a jump start on the new curriculum, Code Club Aotearoa has been running teacher training workshops to demystify the computer science and digital technologies concepts teachers will soon be required to teach.

He explains that although the ministry is taking teacher-training seriously, there is a long way to go until New Zealand has a broad base of teachers confident in their capability to teach programming, computer science, networking, design and logic.

“The $40 million funding announced by the ministry aimed to be released over the next three years is a fantastic step in the right direction.”

Shirley concludes, “New Zealand needs to move fast if we want to cement our reputation as a digital nation.”

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