#SuperCoders, what is it?
The #SuperCoders ethos is very simple: to invite boys and girls aged from 9 to 13 to take part in free workshops to introduce them to computer coding.
To do this, they design games and short animations by putting together logical building blocks (little pieces of programming code) to make characters to make characters come to life This is a very basic but extremely informative way of both training them to think logically and of teaching them to work collaboratively together. Later on, whether these young apprentices become the Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerbergs of the future depends entirely upon their talents and ambitions.
These joint workshops, which last several hours, are facilitated by volunteer Orange coaches and partner associations.
The Orange employees' strong involvement in #SuperCoders has been made possible by Orange Labs, which has more than 250 volunteer coaches leading workshops for children.
Employees from Orange Labs Products and Services, who are veterans of coding workshops and Coding Parties, also train and support new volunteers in France and the Overseas Territories, as well as in other Orange countries like Egypt, Senegal, Mali and Côte d'Ivoire which are new to #Supercoders..
#SuperCoders is part of the global trend towards an ICT “maker” approach:
We must also mention all the organizations that the young people…..and their parents, engage with enthusiastically. More than 1,000 children in half a dozen countries have already benefitted from this Orange digital-support program since October 2014, and in 2015, several thousand young people in 9 countries are set to do the same.
Raising awareness of digital technology in this way and fostering the burgeoning ambition it may awaken are powerful drivers for social inclusion (helping disadvantaged groups, rural communities) and for parity between girls and boys.
This is why, from early 2016, the #SuperCoders initiative will figure amongst the Orange Digital Schools program in 7 African countries (Tunisia, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Conakry, Cameroon, Niger and Madagascar).
photo (c) Stéphane Foulon
Interview with Christine Albanel, Executive Director in charge of CSR, Diversity, Partnerships and Philanthropy during the #SuperCoders program in 2014
By helping youngsters to learn the basics of computer coding, first and foremost #SuperCoders offers them a fun way to discover the secrets of digital technology for themselves. This may, of course, stir up ambition, but the real issue lies elsewhere.
It is actually about showing them that digital technology is an almost boundless source of creativity and that this world is open to them, that it is not confined to other people. This gives young people the opportunity to participative (not only in the digital sphere, but in other areas too). This approach has the advantage of getting them to experiment with mutual support, collaboration, creating things together and commitment, all of which underpin digital culture.
The #SuperCoders initiative is fully in line with Orange policy on young people and families. With its proposal to offer guidance to everyone so as to build confidence in the digital world, Orange is accepting its responsibility as an operator. And this support is provided at two distinct levels: to young people, so that they themselves get involved with digital technology, and to parents, to make them more aware of digital issues. This is what is behind Orange’s “Better Internet for Kids” (BIK) program, which offers a range of tools, services and support to give parents the power to take action and to offer their children the best of digital technology.
Festival #SuperCoders, where is it taking place?
After the success of the 1st program in October 2014, the #SuperCoders initiative is taking on a whole new dimension with the creation of the #SuperCoders Festival, which this year involves 9 countries: 4 in Europe (Spain, France, Poland and Romania) and 5 in Africa (Ivory Coast, Egypt, Mali, Senegal and Tunisia).
On 14 and 17 October, 2015, each of these countries will host coding workshops in one or more locations (e.g. in more than 25 towns in France). At the end of the workshops, hundreds of young #SuperCoders will be able to get together by video conference to talk to each other and share what they have achieved with the other participants. The atmosphere is bound to be great, just as it was last year when, for example, the Spanish youngsters gave a wild performance of the macarena!
At the end of each workshop, all participants are awarded their #SuperCoders certificate. Host countries and volunteers are themselves awarded the #SuperCoders commitment prize.
A wonderful approach which we are really excited about!. Click on each flag to find out what initiatives are taking place in that country.
#SuperCoders with Scratch
photo (c) Stéphane Foulon
Designed by the MIT in Boston, Scratch is an open platform which uses a unique programming language, designed especially to introduce even the youngest of children to the principles and possibilities of computer coding. Children will not be copying down lines of HTML language, but instead, they will be putting together logical building blocks that correspond to predefined functionalities. Scratch is made up of numerous pre-coded tools that participants of the workshops use to create their own project. In addition to the tool itself, Scratch is also an extremely popular online community, where children can program together and share their creations.
BIK, a Better Internet for Kids
As a telecoms operator, Orange’s ambition is to open up the digital world to the largest possible number of people, whilst ensuring that this technology is used responsibly. This is not about making the internet more widely available, but about discovering a better internet this is the principle expounded by the BIK (a Better Internet for Kids) program launched by Orange for young people and families. Although the internet may not have been designed for children, in the future it will be designed BY them. And #SuperCoders is contributing to that.