Coding Morning Future
Imagining Best Practice 5 February Feb 2020 0735 5 February 2020

Wild Code School comes to Milan, Italy: nobody can do without coding

From primary school to the young unemployed, the projects to teach the principles of coding are multiplying

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Twenty four campuses in 11 European countries. Among which, now, is Italy: Wild Code School, the training network that focuses oncoding, from this January has launched its activities in Milan, in the Isola neighbourhood, to appeal to kids and adults.

Anyone between 18 and 58 years of age, regardless of their level of education and resume, can enrol in the Wild Code School course, after an initial entry test. After this, courses last from 5 to 10 months and aim to train web developers, data analysts, product managers, cyber security and blockchain experts. All of this thanks to Anna Stèpanov, the CEO of WCS that launched the network in 2014. “I decided to found it because there was a great lack of talent on the job market in tech companies and this lack is an obstacle to companies’ growth”, she explained.

The approach of the Wild Code School is a “Blended Learning” style, a hybrid method that combines class learning with online resources, such as the Odyssey platform, developed especially by the school to offer individual support to those enrolled. To this the practical phase of group work with companies in various different sectors, so that students can connect with some real cases, is added.

The school is open to people from 18 to 58 years of age and includes interaction with local companies.

The objective, for all of them, is to gain competencies that are increasingly in demand in the job market. A mission that is true for both students just coming out of high school, for graduates and for those who might have been laid off later on in life, and now need to reposition themselves taking advantage of qualities that are in demand. It is not by chance that in Italy in the last few years there have been many projects and training courses in coding.

These activities have been implemented in all levels of schools, but they have also been developed as courses for adults. The impulse often comes from public institutions, such as in the case of eTwinning. It is a project of the European Commission that creates initiatives that are common to many European schools.

Among these initiatives are also a number of digital projects: at the Dante Alighieri school in Novaresco di Opera, in the Milan province, students in pre-school, for example, have been introduced to coding through simple Legobuilding blocks, or creating stories on tablets. A similar project to the Isitituto Valle del Conca in Morciano di Romagna, Rimini, where children in pre-k learnt the rudiments of coding through play. Star of the program is in this case CodyFeet, a game where children create a path putting together the “blocks”, each with instructions drawn on them in the form of stylized feet. Once they have learnt to put the blocks together in a consistent path, the teachers placed a road creating some narrative elements so the various building blocks became the obligatory path to follow a train of thought and create the fairytale.

Even simple Lego bricks or other games for children can be used to teach the rudiments of coding

Another successful initiative was promoted by Eni and Anp Lazio, involving 150 students between the ages of 7 and 10 from the Daniele Manin, Levi Montalcini and Alessandro Manzoni primary schools in Rome. Kids, in this case, are provided with a kit complete with an Arduino board, various volumetric, movement and gas leak detection sensors, a set of connection cables, coloured LEDs, resistors and other components with which the group had to improve the board, also thanks to some front-end teaching on robotics and coding.

Similar principles, though obviously adapted to the age, to those developed in some technological institutes. At the Epifanio Ferdinando in Mesagne, Brindisi, for example, the kids in the third and fourth years have taken part in a programming and robotics projects, whose objective was assembling a smart car model, capable of moving autonomously and avoiding obstacles.

As the Wild Code School case evidences, though, coding is not only for students. A simple online search is enough to find out that there are lots of companies offering courses for adults. This February the Coding Bootcamp by Emit Feltrinelli will start. Last March saw the launch of Code your future, a project created by the English same-name non-profit, that with the help of Lventure Group promoted a free coding course for asylum seekers, refugees and in general everyone who is struggling financially. After all, it’s thanks to coding that these people could find a job in the future and better their lives.

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