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Part V: Coding teaches us to collaborate and plan


When we do anything in life, it’s made much easier when we plan out the tasks and collaborate with those around us. We’ve all heard the phrase ‘many hands make light work’ and this applies to coding too! To collaborate successfully with others, planning is key as it ensures everyone knows what they should be doing and when. In Part 4 of our Coding Miniseries we talked about how coding can teach us to communicate better, and planning involves communication. This takes us onto our 5th transferrable skill kids can learn through coding:


Transferrable skill #5: Project planning and collaboration



Many of us didn’t know how to do project planning until some years into our first or second job. It is a crucial skill to have in the digital workforce as it allows us to break a project down into actionable tasks, to delegate tasks to colleagues in our team, and then work on the different tasks in an efficient and focussed way.


For example, if a kid has decided to create their own “Flappy Bird” style game, they need to plan out how this can be achieved. We can ask them to think about some of the following questions:


Resources:

Which tools are you going to use?

How much time do you have?

What do you think you might need help with?


Structure:

What are the key components in the game?

How does the scoring work?


Workflow:

Which parts need to be built before (or after) other parts?

Which parts can be built at the same time?

How do you make sure that you always work on the latest version?

If you noticed a mistake, how do you go back to fix it?


Agile & user testing

When will the first version be ready to test?

How are you going to test it with your users?

How do you plan to improve it?


Collaboration

Are you going to build this with a team of friends?

How do you make sure everyone gets to do the bit they’re good at?

How do you hand over your part to your teammates and make sure they understand what you did?


Building a Flappy Bird or Angry Birds game is impressive all on its own, but it’s the way of working our kids are learning through “collaborative coding” that will make a difference to their future careers.



Reflection activity:

Think about one of your favourite games, apps, TV series or films, then do a bit more online research about it:

- How many people were involved to create it?

- What types of teams or roles did those people have?

- How long did it take for people to finish it?

- Did they talk about how they solved a problem that they didn’t expect?


Tips: There are many app developers and film directors who have written articles or posted “behind the scenes” videos, sharing how they turned an idea into a reality through teamwork, collaboration and planning.



Stretch activity:

If you’d like to have a go at doing some project planning at home, why not take the lead in your house first? You can use a very simple tool called “KanBan” to organise all the tasks that need to be done in your house, assign them to your family members, and track the progress made by everyone (just don’t assign all the tasks to your parents as that’s not collaboration)!

We created a short video walking you through how this is done.


Now that you’re a top planner, you can think about all the different tasks that would be made much easier with a little bit of planning and collaboration. We’ll see you next week for the final part of our Coding Miniseries, so don’t miss it!



- Dr. Christine Yu & Lexie Hayden

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