Code Club Australia officially set a world record yesterday, getting over 10,000 kids coding as part of its Moonhack campaign to celebrate the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969.
The event saw kids across the country take part in a series of online computer programming exercises related to science and astronomy, with Code Club Australia general manager Kelly Tagalan saying Moonhack was the first event of its kind to both capture the imagination of kids across the country and improve digital literacy at the same time.
“Learning to code gives children to be ability to control, not just use, technology. It’s one of the most important lessons they can learn for the future. Code Club Australia wants to make sure that every Australian child has the opportunity to learn how to code, and we are overjoyed that Moonhack was able to reach so many families around the country – and even overseas,” Tagalan said.
The event officially saw 10,207 children take part by midnight, with the world record declared at 6.30pm during the live event at the Telstra Customer Insights Centre in Sydney as 9,782 participants had signed on.
For kids new to coding, Moonhack asked them to code with Scratch, giving them the task of creating an Australian scene where Scratch imagines himself going to the moon in a rocket. Kids then added sound effects and a countdown for liftoff.
Its celebration of the Apollo 11 moon landing saw the event gain support from NASA itself, with Canberra’s Deep Space Communication Complex, part of the NASA Deep Space Network, reaching out to Code Club. The Canberra complex, of course, played an important role in the moon landing, broadcasting the first steps on the moon to the rest of the world.
The world record was also made possible by the growth of Code Club Australia itself. Founded in the UK in 2012, the Australian chapter was launched by muru-D’s Annie Parker in 2014 and has since grown to over 900 clubs across the country, with 9,000 kids coding weekly – Australia now has the biggest branch of clubs outside the UK.
Clubs in schools, libraries, and community centres yesterday hosted coding sessions while others worked on projects from home, then submitting them to Code Club in order to count participations.
The world record comes at a time when the conversation around getting kids to code has never been louder, with community initiatives like Code Club and government too pushing the issue.
Melbourne startup Code the Future launched an ambitious plan in January to get 10,000 Australian school students coding by the end of the year, a plan coinciding with an endorsement of the new Digital Technologies subject that is to be introduced into the Australian curriculum this year.
The importance of STEM education was also picked up by the Queensland Government late last year, which announced an Advancing Education initiative through which the study of coding and robotics would be made compulsory for all students from kindergarten to year 10.
Image: Moonhack. Source: Supplied.