Primary school learners code up a storm

Cindy Preller

The first-ever Unplugged Coding Competition for primary school coding clubs in Nelson Mandela Bay was hosted on Friday (June 10) at Summerwood Primary School.

Colourfully dressed teams from coding clubs representing Erica Girls Primary School, Collegiate Junior School for Girls, Brylin Private School and Parsons Hill Primary School joined host school Summerwood Primary for a fun-filled afternoon of coding.

More than 130 Grade 5-7 learners played a 45-minute game of TANKS, the coding app game developed by a former Nelson Mandela University postgraduate computing sciences student, Byron Batteson.

The schools’ coding clubs were introduced to the magic of coding through an engagement project known as Tangible Africa, a collaboration between the Nelson Mandela University Computing Sciences Department and the Leva Foundation.

Nelson Mandela University Computing Sciences Associate Professor, Jean Greyling, is well-known for spreading awareness about coding to South African youth and abroad, and as project coordinator of Tangible Africa he briefed the excited learners before the games began.

As a special surprise – that not even Greyling was aware of – a pre-recorded video message from NMU alumnus and Amazon Vice-President David Brown was also played in which he wished the players good luck before the competition.

“I got my very first computer [in primary school], well it was more like a fancy calculator, that I taught myself to programme on. And that is where I discovered the world of programming, and it is something that I still enjoy doing today. I wasn’t as lucky as you to have TANKS, which teaches you how to programme in a really fun and interesting way,” said Brown.