Creating hands-on learning with technology

Maxwell Dean, Marketing and Social Media Assistant at Codez Academy, talks about the impact of coding on creative development in the learning process

Did you struggle to express your creativity at school? You are more than likely not the only one. The traditional academic model of learning isn’t suited for everyone. With technology, however, the answer is at our fingertips. 

Learning can be both fun and effective, but too often our creativity is stifled by a focus on finding and repeating the correct answer, and on memorisation of information to be simply regurgitated in an exam. The correct answer is important, but so is the process of getting there. Learning from our mistakes is something we need to value too and reflect more in our education system. This is where creativity can come in. Mistakes don’t have to be roadblocks. More often than not, innovation arises from trial and error.

A fun and engaging learning environment has, among other things, a positive effect on motivation levels. To put it simply, if we are having a fun time while learning new skills we are much more likely to retain information. This approach also recognises that learning isn’t a one-off event. It requires repetition and dedication. If the experience is memorable, we are therefore more likely to stay curious and keep coming back for more. With digital technology now being an essential element of our lives and as important as traditional subjects like maths and English, its potential to unlock children’s creativity is huge. Technology can, quite literally, help to put learning in the hands of students. 

Coding in particular is one of the best ways to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills. To successfully solve a coding problem, students need to take the time to understand it and come up with their chosen course of action. Learning code can also help kids see the world algorithmically, in patterns and in cause and effect. With programming, students are also exposed to this process of experimentation. They start by learning a handful of commands to do simple tasks, and with each successful result, they slowly gain the confidence to try new and more ambitious tasks. 

“Learning can be both fun and effective, but too often our creativity is stifled by a focus on finding and repeating the correct answer.”

Another important benefit to adding a degree of fun to learning is that it gives students a voice on how they want to learn. Traditional lessons require students to sit down, be talked to and only respond with the correct answer. But what if they want to express an idea that is a bit different? Engaging with students through a more interactive approach which incorporates technology can, therefore, be an effective way of giving students a voice and letting them play a part in how they learn. This doesn’t mean that students should be free of discipline and structure, but rather that technology can both help to create a flexible learning environment which works for everyone, and consequently reflect the diversity of students and their abilities. This doesn’t just have to be students on the autistic spectrum or with dyslexia, but anyone who has a creative mindset. Perhaps most of all, technology can help tap into a creative mindset by providing the tools to embrace new ideas and ask questions. 

Dean Jenkins of Codez Academy shares this belief that a focus on using technology to create a hands-on and fun approach to learning is the way forward. 

Dean founded Codez Academy in 2015 after he, too, struggled within the traditional academic model due to misunderstanding of his dyslexia and dyscalculia. Codez Academy offers coding classes to both young people and adults. Dean now aims to open an eco-friendly creative college for creative-minded students in Wales to offer a true alternative to academic education. 

For more information on Codez Academy courses check out www.codezacademy.co.uk.