With children getting acquainted with computers and electronic devices at an early age, educators are increasingly laying emphasis on inculcating computational thinking among children still in school. Often compared with learning a foreign language, students are being introduced to coding at a relatively younger age, driven by the idea that it’s easier to acquire logical thinking skills while they are still young and learning proactively.
Coding can foster creativity and curiosity as it encourages students to understand the “how” and “why” behind the functioning of technology and its products, educators said. It drives computational thinking and encourages students to give shape to their ideas. Introducing students to coding while they are in school can pique their curiosity and aid the development of their analytical skills early on. Group coding projects such as HT Code-A-Thon also encourage teamwork and allow students to learn from each other. They can be great tools to encourage students to think of creative solutions to problems.
To that end, Hindustan Times has kicked off the second edition of India’s biggest coding Olympiad, Hindustan Times Code-A-Thon.
Launched on August 31, Code-A-Thon provides an opportunity to students in classes 4 to 9 to learn to code and boost algorithmic thinking, mathematical and computing skills, and analytical thinking to prepare them for careers of tomorrow in science and technology. The olympiad intends to highlight the importance of coding for the younger generation by helping them to improve their analytical reasoning, logical thinking, and problem-solving skills.
HT Code-A-Thon will offer a platform to students to pick up the basics of coding, and showcase their code writing skills at a national level. The programme is divided into three rounds. The learning round is supposed to continue till the first week of January This will be followed by the qualifier round, which will take place in the second week of January and open the competition. The final, which holds the promise of a battle between whiz kids, is scheduled for the third week of January. The virtual felicitation ceremony will take place on January 20. Those interested to sign up for Code-A-Thon can visit https://htschool.hindustantimes.com/code-a-thon or scan the QR code below.
Vinayak Garg, commissioner, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (an autonomous body under the union ministry of education), said the programme will help students to develop algorithmic thinking, which will enable them to approach various challenges and problems using logic and computational thinking.
“Vigyan Jyoti Programme, a flagship initiative of the department of science and technology, is running successfully in 100 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas. The program aims to increase the representation of women in STEM and encourages and empowers meritorious girls of Class 9 to Class 12 to pursue STEM courses. Code-A-Thon, conducted by IBM in collaboration with Hindustan Times for Vigyan Jyoti Students will help in developing algorithmic thinking among students which will enable them to understand how to approach various challenges and problems using logic and computational thinking. Learning Programming language at school level will prepare our girl students for future career prospects in today’s world of hyper technology,” said Garg.
For the coding Olympiad, HT has partnered with IBM and SpeedLabs, an AI-based practice and learning platform that boosts foundational concept-based learning. The competition was recently recognized as the “Best in South Asia” in the Global Media Awards hosted by the International News Media Association (INMA), which also had entrants such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal vying for the top spot.
In December last year, more than two months after its launch, four winners and eight runners-up from two zones were chosen as winners of HT Code-A-Thon 2020. The event saw 10,000 schools and over 61,000 registrations. Around 400 finalists competed with each other by participating in tests.