Dutch NGO CodeUur gets parents involved as they aim to change the school curriculum and set a Guinness World Record in coding.
What do the Guinness Book of Records and computer science have in common? This year, on 14th October, a new world record attempt in coding will take place across the Netherlands. Coinciding with Europe Code Week, Dutch NGO CodeUur will partner with schools, teachers and education ministers in an effort to set a new world record for the number of people coding at once. The mammoth challenge will involve 10,000 primary school children, 500 volunteers and 500 schools – not your average coding class!
Recognizing the importance of instilling digital skills in youth from an early age, CodeUur is looking at new ways to integrate coding into the national curriculum. However, curriculum reform is a big challenge, and CodeUur cannot do it alone. That’s why the non-profit organization is working with parents, teachers and governments to introduce computer science to more young people and ensure Dutch children are equipped for the jobs of tomorrow. With the labor market becoming increasingly technology driven, digital literacy is fundamental to succeeding in our modern workforce.
Working with primary schools across the Netherlands, CodeUur has provided 635 schools with coding lessons for kids and teachers. However, the bigger goal is to offer lessons in all 7,300 schools across the nation. To achieve this, the non-profit’s partner network is getting volunteers involved and so far over 300 have signed up to help run the coding classes. To help CodeUur meet its ambitious goal, Microsoft YouthSpark awarded the NGO a $100,000 grant last year, and nearly 100 employees from Microsoft Netherlands have volunteered to help teach kids computer skills. So far, the feedback from children who have taken part in these classes has been extremely positive, with some saying they don’t want their lesson to end and others actually staying late at school to continue coding!
With enthusiasm for coding well and truly growing, CodeUur wants to make sure the learning doesn’t stop there, but continues at home. And youth gaining these skills starts within the family. CodeUur co-founder Ronilla Snellen says, “Parents are a huge influence in driving change, and we want them to be aware of why learning digital skills from the offset is important to their childrens’ future.”
The NGO has invited parents to get more involved in their children’s digital education and take part in the coding lessons together with their sons and daughters. Learning how to code will be a new experience for many parents, an opportunity to bond with their children while tackling the challenges of modern homework together. One participating parent commented, “I used to think that my child was just getting online to play games or watch videos on YouTube. Now, having seen coding in action, I can appreciate how creative technology can be and why it is so important to learn the basics at an early age – kids definitely pick up things much faster than we do!”
With the preparations for the Guinness World Record attempt well underway, CodeUur wants to ensure its goal of changing the school curriculum continues long after October. While not every child will end up writing code for a living, they will benefit from understanding how technology works as well as how to create, apply and use it. Having access to computer science from an early age will help boost their creativity and develop their analytical and problem solving skills – all of which are critical for their future.
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