Students crack codes

TECH SMART: Baulkham Hills High School students are learning coding, which will help them gain skills that could lead to employment in the growing IT and technology industries. Picture: Geoff Jones
TECH SMART: Baulkham Hills High School students are learning coding, which will help them gain skills that could lead to employment in the growing IT and technology industries. Picture: Geoff Jones

STUDENTS at Baulkham Hills High School are learning to talk Python – and they are excelling at it.

Python does not give students the abilitiy to talk to snakes like the Harry Potter series, but instead gives them the opportunity to create codes to build websites and other computer-related programs.

The school’s Year 9 and 10 Information Software and Technology students do a coding course for a term each year, and the students helped the school recently record a perfect score at the NCSS (National Computer Science School) Challenge.

Baulkham Hills High School teacher Ryan Dunne said his class went up against 20,000 students from schools across Australia and overseas.

“It is amazing to do so well because for some students, they are doing programming for the first time,” he said.

“I’m extremely happy to see them doing so well and see them help each other out.

“The students enjoy it because they are taught it and then they immediately apply it, so it is self-centred learning. They type the codes in python, and some are also involved in a programming club at lunch on Tuesdays.

“The students also enjoy getting results and feedback immediately.”

Student Cameron Bell is one of the 100 Baulkham Hills High School students that is currently doing the coding unit.

“It is quite good,” he said while working on a Twitter-related coding activity.

“You have to think differently. You get given a problem and you have to find the right approach to solve the problem, which can be more fun than the actual processing of the code.”

Classmate Anna Zhou said she enjoyed the different “mindset” she has to use to solve problems in coding, which is different to other school subjects.

Coding has been introduced to schools as part of the growing influence of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education approach.

The STEM approach is different as students realise a problem and find ways to create a solution. The NCSS Challenge was a five-week course that the students completed during this term.

Model Farms High School also participated in the NCSS Challenge and achieved a perfect score.