Working in partnership with the Ministry of Education and MINTIC, British Council Colombia have established the “Coding for kids” pilot programme.
The recently established Ministry of Communication, Innovation, Technology (MINTIC) has a remit to guarantee the spread technology throughout the country and to also provide all citizens with opportunities to develop and manage their digital skills. The department were tasked with establishing a flagship programme to work with schools, and the micro:bit was a natural fit as a tool for the education context.
The programme, which aims to reach more girls and disadvantaged groups with digital skills and technology, was developed with the support of the government and education agencies who assisted in the selection of teachers, schools and regions to work in.
Training and implementation
The training programme ran over five months and was divided into three components: initial training for teachers, follow-up sessions to support with implementation capacity building, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E).
During the initial training the British Council supported with training for twelve teacher mentors to become "core skills" experts. These mentors worked closely with each participating teacher to support them in implementing a training scheme with a coding methodology for young people, using the micro:bit.
The initial training was run as an intensive 2-day programme which prepared teachers to start using micro:bit in classes and incorporate computational thinking into classroom contexts.
The teacher mentors then worked with each participating teacher during monthly visits to classrooms and via remote contexts in order to:
- observe how teachers are implementing the strategy and embedding core skills
- monitor and evaluate the successes and constraints of the strategy
- observe students working with new technology and teaching methodology
- establish teacher needs and requirements for supporting teaching guides
Lessons and pedagogy
The lessons to support teachers with the delivery of the programme took inspiration from the Microsoft 14-week curriculum with additional content developed to suit local needs. These lessons and supporting resource materials were considered with a “design thinking” mindset, with the methodology and teaching practices modified based on teacher feedback.
The programme focused on Makecode as the software editor with plans in formulation to incorporate Python/ MicroPython in later stages as the programme expands, depending on teacher need and level of student ability.
Impact and next steps
The pilot project trained 260 teachers and reached over 15,000 students
Taking learnings from the pilot's evaluation, the Education Ministry and its partners are expanding the programme and aim to reach every region and municipal territory in Colombia in coming years.