by Tobi Loftus
DOZENS of school students across the South Burnett took part in special coding workshops this week, aimed to give them the keys to be future problem solvers.
Students from Kingaroy State High School, Saint Mary's Catholic College and St Patrick's Primary School all got to experience the hands on lessons run by Coding Kids founder Emily de la Peña and her team.
"Programming is an empowering tool, no matter where you are it's a tool that can solve problems,” Ms de la Peña said.
"Regional communities can use programming and technology to solve community problems.
"It means that in the future industries, whether agriculture or industrial, can start solving problems for themselves and don't have to look to the cities to buy solutions, they can whip something up themselves.”
While coding can seem daunting to some, Ms de la Peña said by linking it to students interests, like playing video games, it gets them interested.
"We ask them if they've ever thought about building their own, that's exciting as they start talking about ideas, using their imagination about what they'd build,” she said.
The workshops, held from August 8 to 10, were funded by the Advance Queensland Engaging Science Grants.
Minister for Innovation Leeanne Enoch said the workshops aimed to prepare students for the jobs of the future and develop their skills in critical thinking, creativity and innovation.
"Our world is changing rapidly with the influence of technology, and it's touching every aspect of our lives. Young people need to be prepared and ready to engage in this exciting future,” Ms Enoch said.
"Increasing STEM participation is central to our Engaging Queenslanders in Science strategy.”
Ms de la Peña said there were a number of options for students who did not attend the workshops but wanted to learn how to code.
"Firstly, go to your local library, it's a great place to access technology education classes,” she said.
"Most schools also have a digital champion, someone who encourages participation in digital literacy.
"Online there are so many free courses for students, hourofcode.com has courses for all different age levels.”