A futuristic coding curriculum for schools
Edtech startup Codevidhya offers school children a coding curriculum that enhances their problem-solving skills. Shiv Ram Choudhary, Founder & Chairperson, Codevidhya shares his mission of educating one lakh students by 2020
Codevidhya is an edtech startup, founded in 2016, with a vision to nurture and train creators of technology by teaching children to code. The startup offers coding curriculum to schools to fill the skills gap between education and industry demands. “Codevidhya is highly inspired by Finland Education Model wherein vocational aspect is given more weightage and the emphasis is more on helping children hone their critical thinking and computational skills and thereby creating opportunities for development of leadership and entrepreneurship skills,” says Shiv Ram Choudhary, Founder & Chairperson, Codevidhya.
Pointing out that the early years of schooling are a great time to introduce coding concepts to students as a way of thinking about the everyday world, Choudhary states, “We envision millions of students from around the country gain the opportunity to become proficient in the coding and build the fundamental skills they need to survive in the upcoming technology based economy.”
Codevidhya started its journey with 600 students with an aim to link computer education to employability, leadership and entrepreneurship skills. “We have been ensuring project based learning wherein the students are encouraged to look around, identify problems and find solutions to these problems using technology. We believe in the future that would be written by code. In fact, the ability to code could be the ‘next level of literacy’.”
The coding curriculum offered to schools are available in offline and online mode. Codevidhya has a mission to educate one lakh students by 2020.
Codevidhya curriculum has everything to convert the classrooms into programming powerhouses. The program consists of a diverse set of tools and techniques to turn the young generation into future leaders and entrepreneurs.
The curriculum offered to the schools consists of the following set of resources:
• Curriculum books for Grades 1 to 10
• Access to Codevidhya online tools such as QuickBook and CodePlay.
• Multiple training sessions for Computer Science teachers for the whole academic session to equip them to teach conveniently and more effectively.
• Regular workshops for students to introduce them to the coding concepts and the latest innovations in the field of Computer Science.
• Three online assessments to track the students’ performances.
• Program monitoring
• One to one support to teachers and students
• Coding challenges for students to create the competitive environment
Choudhary lists the various benefits for students. “Writing lines of code boost student’s computational thinking skills. Coding is combination of logic and mathematics. It improves students’ logical skills with their Mathematical skills also. It teaches kids how to think. Critical thinking is very crucial skill for every 21st century learner,” he informs, adding that children have great imaginations and if they know how to code or how computer works for them, it gives them the power to covert that imagination into reality. Further, learning how to code is not only just a skill but lays the foundation of the development of problem solving skill.
It is also easy educational institutes to implement this futuristic program. Team Codevidhya ensures mentoring at every step, right from the introduction to implementation of the curriculum. “Cost-wise, with the kind of offerings that are a part of the curriculum, it is a great value proposition for schools. And the best part is, it blends very well with the existing culture of the school without any major requirements in terms of infrastructure or additional investments. It works well with just a basic requirement of a Computer Science Lab and Computer Science Faculty,” he says, adding that schools have great advantages if they are adopting this innovative curriculum early. It helps them to stand apart from others that is dedicated to boost innovation in education.
Codevidhya has primarly been targeting North India region for session 2019-20 and by 2020 the company will cover pan India. “In terms of adoption, Tier 1 city schools are more open but to reach out the decision makers is quite tough for startups. Where tier-II and Tier –III city schools are somehow less aware but they are easily approachable,” states Choudhary.
In terms of mindset, while there is increasing awareness amongst Indian schools on the benefit that such a curriculum can bring, the current level of adoption is quite patchy, admits Choudhary, adding that at one end of spectrum, there are schools led by principals who are quite tech-savvy and are open to adopting emerging technologies. But they represent comparatively a small percentage of the overall population. “On a sadder side, for some schools empowering our students means just having a few-rarely used computers in the Computer Science Lab. Codevidhya is intently trying to bring about of mindshift and compelling them to understand that it is essential to embrace technology wholeheartedly and creatively,” he adds.
Choudhary believes that every student should have the opportunity to learn to code and create. “And to provide them this much needed opportunity we are about to launch subscription based Codevidhya Program for individual students also. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are new trends and also the future of programming. In step –II we will be introducing artificial intelligence and machine learning as part of our curriculum.
Coding, asserts Choudhary, empowers students to be the creators of technology rather than just users of technology.
CASE STUDY: Euro International School
In 2016 Euro International School partnered with Codevidhya and initiated a students’ program which included a formalised process for using Computer Science curriculum as a tool to teach children to create technology. The program gave students the opportunity and experience of engagement with various programming languages at a very early stage through a structured curriculum. A key part of this program has been the school’s innovative use of Codevidhya curriculum to the maximum to help students explore and experiment with technology to ‘create’.
Euro International School is a public co-educational CBSE school in Sikar, Rajasthan. Established in 2004, the school prides itself in providing a variety of meaningful learning experiences that promote the development of all children towards their full potential in various domains. In her role as Principal, Sunita Choudhary considers herself responsible for equipping the students with all 21st century skills. Having identified a considerable gap between what is being taught in the schools as part of Computer Science curriculum and what is it that the market demands, she wanted a curriculum that could cater to the students in sync with the need of the hour. The school partnered with Codevidhya, with a vision to bridge this gap.
Initially, the trial was with Grades 4 to 10 to see the impact of the curriculum. She analysed the students’ progress and discussed with the faculty.
The school also recognises students’ achievements in Code Challenges.
Initial results: Outcomes of Code Challenges and Skill Assessments have given the school insights into two key elements – the students and their individual ability to use technology to empower themselves; and the relevance and effectiveness of Codevidhya curriculum. As a result of these insights, the school is realising benefits in inspiring students to take their rightful place in the world
Performance in Code Challenges have revealed the talents of students who aren’t necessarily high achievers in class, but who have a technical aptitude. The school has been able to focus on and develop this. This program has been able to contribute to the school’s goal of inspiring students to reach their true potential and aspire to take their rightful place in the world. The overall program has resulted in increasing numbers of students exploring their technical interests and enhancing their problem solving approach.
Subsequent to the success of the pilot program, Euro International School implemented the Codevidhya curriculum across all classes.
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