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Teachers invited to join coding and robotics workshop

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Lindiwe Matlali, Africa Teen Geeks founder.
Lindiwe Matlali, Africa Teen Geeks founder.

The University of Johannesburg (UJ), in collaboration with non-profit organisation Africa Teen Geeks, the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and UNICEF, will host a virtual teacher training workshop to upskill teachers in coding and robotics.

According to a statement, the workshop, taking place at the end of the month, will enhance teachers’ skills in the implementation of the coding and robotics curricula in classrooms, offering a range of tech skills from beginner to advanced level.

Government’s plans to upskill public school learners in coding and robotics are making headway, with a draft of the curriculum gazetted in March 2021.

The planned coding curriculum, to be rolled out from grades R to 9, forms part of the DBE’s education priorities, and is envisaged to equip learners in all public schools with skills and competencies required in the digital economy.

The DBE says it has committed to increasing skills development and competencies to prepare learners for the fourth industrial revolution (4IR).

The introduction of the coding and robotics curriculum was approved by the Council of Education Ministers on 8 March 2019.

The upcoming workshop aims to reach as many teachers as possible, especially from under-resourced schools and communities all around Africa.

“Following the approval of the curriculum and pilot project, we now have an extreme need to provide support to teachers via teacher training-focused activities. This online workshop explores the pedagogical and practical implications related to the teaching of coding and robotics,” says Africa Teen Geeks founder Lindiwe Matlali.

The programme includes presentations on scratch coding, project-based learning and exploring the need to prepare students for future careers in the 4IR.

Speakers and facilitators of the workshop include Steven Pinto, CEO of CTRL Robotics; Kenneth Baloyi, lecturer of childhood education at UJ; Dr Cerene Rathilal, mathematics lecturer at UJ; and Matlali.

The workshop will be held on 30 October and will be a virtual Zoom event. Register via https://bit.ly/3l43u3Y, or for further information on registration, contact Rathilal via e-mail: crathilal@uj.ac.za.

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