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Coding is cool this summer

4 January 2016

100 year 11 and 12 students are participating in an intensive coding summer course this week at the University of Sydney.

Students participate in the National Computer Science School

Texting, Snapchat, Instagram… youth today are keen technology consumers, but few in Australia take the opportunity to become technology creators themselves, claim two University of Sydney National Computer Science School (NCSS) mentors.

To help boost numbers and make coding cool, PhD candidate Nicky Ringland and fellow mentor Georgina Wilcox, who has returned from working with Google in London, will work with 100 Australian computer enthusiasts who have been accepted to the intensive summer school from 3 -12 January.

The 10 day in-residence program for students going into years 11 and 12 brings together talented youngsters for an intensive course of computer programming, website development and embedded devices at the University of Sydney’s School of Information Technologies. The mentors are hoping to unlock the hidden talent of this elite coding group.

“These students are the next generation of software developers. They will be creating the technology of the future,” says Nicky Ringland.

“I won’t be surprised if one of them goes on to create the next killer app or game-changing technology. Maybe they’ll build the next Facebook, Google, Airbnb or Uber. In fact, some of them have written apps already.

“The Summer School brings together students who are passionate about IT and they have an opportunity to share their passion. Several successful startups have come from students meeting their cofounders at the Summer School!

“We know that their passion and excitement will extend beyond the ten day program, and will be infectious once they begin first term in 2016.  This enthusiasm is especially important right now with schools across Australia starting to implement the Digital Technologies curriculum, which will give every student in Australia the opportunity to learn not just how to consume technology, but how to create it,” she says.

James Curran, Associate Professor and ARC Australian Research Fellow, believes students should be taught to write computer code from Year 3, and that learning to code will give young people the competitive edge in the emerging digital economy.

Associate Professor Curran, who played a key role in developing and writing the national curriculum on subjects relating to computer science, says:  "In the next few years as the new Australian curriculum is adopted, digital technologies will be implemented by every primary and high school in Australia.

"This will see students from years 3 to 8 being required to learn to code in school, which will be a massive step forward.

"Who knows what these students can be inspired to create after the NCSS summer school - the sky is no limit,” says Associate Professor Curran.

Victoria Hollick

Media Adviser
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