Striving to be game changers through computing
10 Dec 2014
Principal of St. Gabriel’s Primary School shares how her students have benefited from the school’s computing programme.
Just like learning a language or a skill, the enthusiasm and ability to program software could be developed when young. As part of Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) at St. Gabriel’s Primary School, Primary 4 and 5 students are introduced to computing, which helps them develop logical thinking skills, and build their foundation in the learning of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). It is also important that the students have the opportunity to be ‘game changers’ and active contributors to the digital world that they live in rather than remain as passive users of technology.
Students are introduced to computing through the use of Scratch, a free software developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with simple and manageable interface and computing language. Through this software, students learn how to program interactive content such as stories, games and animation.
Students usually spend an hour attending computing classes during curriculum hours each week and they are encouraged to continue exploring and creating at home. As Scratch is a web-based program, students can also share their work online and view works by others around the world.
Through writing, debugging and remixing computer codes, students learn problem solving skills and build up their confidence in the digital environment. Teachers are also trained to provide directions and support.
“Through Scratch computing, I have developed my critical thinking skills. While entering the scripts, I am already trying to picture the results of the commands in my mind, to ensure it carries out the actions that I want”, shares Chokka Shailesh Raj, a Primary 5 student.
Another student, Aaron Alison Dsilva, shared that he would definitely apply the same attitude learnt during computing classes to his studies. Whenever he encountered any errors during computing, he would try his best to troubleshoot and never give up. Similarly, whenever Aaron encounters a difficult problem in his school work now, he would also persevere and try his best to resolve it.
This year, students who showed aptitude and interest in the computing programme were also invited to attend an intermediate-level class during the June holidays to further their skills. As part of the National Day 2014 celebrations, a competition was also held for students to apply their computing skills to create an animation on what National Day meant to them.