On 30 April, the next AdelaideX MOOC will begin – Think. Create. Code. This course has been created by the Computer Science Education Research Group at the University of Adelaide, and promises to provide a really hands-on first experience of code – which, as the course instructors firmly believe, is key to encouraging people to think creatively about how technology can be used. Here, the course author team of Katrina Falkner, Claudia Szabo, Nick Falkner and Rebecca Vivian write about how learning to code can transform how we make the world around us.
Code: Creating new ways to change our world
Twenty years ago, if you were walking around and wondering when a shop would be open, if it had what you were after, or what temperature it was going to be tomorrow, you had to wait until you got to a place where you could make a phone call. Ten years ago, you had to get to a computer. Today, you look it up on your phone.
Today, we live in a time of knowing and making, where we can all create new ways of changing our world. The computing platforms of the 21st century are developing more and more rapidly, with new technology allowing us to do the things that we need in faster and better ways. But, unless you can code, you have to wait for someone else to think of what you want and then build it for you.
Wouldn’t you like to be able to build things for yourself when, and as, you need it? Need some stunning visualisations of otherwise dry data – wouldn’t it be great if you could take your numbers and make them into something that really helps you to make your argument well? Technology will help you, but understanding how to create technology will help you more.
With our increasingly digital world, learning about code means learning how technology works at a deeper level. This will be an essential skill in being able to understand how to harness the power of technology – understanding code means that we can create our own technology. We are no longer limited to just using what others create! In this video, you can see some of the digital animation that can be created if you understand code.
What will learners gain from Think. Create. Code?
In Think. Create. Code. we explore the fundamentals of computational thinking – the problem-solving process that underpins code. Students will learn to code through their creation of digital images and animations. We use the Processing.js language, which is a programming language developed for the graphic design space and specifically suited to creating images and animations with code.
This is a great language to learn to code. Being able to create images and animations is a fantastic way to be able to immediately see the results of your coding, and to really experience how creative code can be. However, most programming languages share a common set of programming concepts – so by learning how to code using Processing.js you are learning the fundamental you need for any language!
The following video shows an example of what can be created with code – using Processing.js we have created this as an example of what can be created using what you would learn in this course. We hope you are able to join us and feel inspired to create with code, making animations like this.
Here in the Computer Science Education Research Group at the University of Adelaide, we firmly believe how important it is for everyone for to learn the basics of coding, and computational thinking. As well as developing the Think. Create. Code. course, we are also working with teachers across Australia to change the way we teach Computer Science. Our aim is that every Australian child will be exposed to computational thinking concepts – just imagine what amazing things can be created if we all understand code!
We have built this course – Think. Create. Code. – as a way for you to join us on this journey. Take the first step, learn to code, and change the way that you think about innovation in the digital world.
Katrina Falkner, Claudia Szabo, Nick Falkner and Rebecca Vivian
Visit the Think. Create. Code course page.
Find out more about the Computer Science Education Research Group at the University of Adelaide.