Surfing the Flow of 2021

So 2020. That was a strange one! Jam Coding entered the new year with the same goals as the last. To reach as many children as possible and deliver vital life skills to the next generation of digital citizens. 

We have adapted and extended our services to meet an ever-growing market and need. Our virtual classroom initiative, which we launched last spring, remains as popular going into 2021. This service includes laptop hire, a virtual code coach and various cross-curricular lessons and activities that children can complete from home. 

Even though schools are closed for most pupils, children of key workers are still in attendance and teachers are working hard to educate both those in the classroom and those at home. 

Our code coaches are working in more schools to help with the delivery of the computing curriculum and allow teachers the time to catch-up pupils that may be behind from Lockdown 1.0 and 2.0. All whilst they deliver the rest of the curriculum. Teachers are heroes.

The continued closure of schools across the country has only highlighted the importance of technology and the need for services like ours. That’s why, just weeks into the new year, we launched our very first Online Coding Club.

The club will be delivered in weekly group sessions that cater for all year groups and abilities. Led by a live code coach, children aged 4 to 11 can join in via Zoom and learn to build their own computer game and complete other coding challenges.

All our clubs are educational, interactive and fun and the online sessions will be no different. 

The pandemic has presented challenge after challenge, but we’re proud to be riding the tides, surfing the flow and finding new and innovative ways to do more of what we do. Where there’s a WiFi connection, there’s a way! In fact, scrap that, we don’t even need a Wi-Fi connection sometimes. 

Our achievements in 2020 and plans for the future

Another year has come to a close and, despite the challenges, Jam Coding is delighted to be ending it on a high. This year has proven that with every challenge comes the opportunity to innovate and grow. 

In March, the closure of schools and other lockdown restrictions inspired us to launch Jam Academy, a virtual classroom initiative that would allow children to continue their education whilst schools were closed. 

We did this by delivering and loaning laptops, fully equipped with a range of cross-curricular workshops. Each workshop contained tasks, challenges and lessons for children to complete then submit back to the group. Our code coaches even recorded detailed explanatory videos to ensure the children were fully engaged with the programme. 

Having supported the learning of 62 children across the county, the initiative was a huge success. One parent commented, “The Jam Coding workshops, and the new service Jam Academy is excellent. Our 10-year-old daughter is absolutely loving the content and using the technology to do some of her homework whilst home-schooling.” 

By the time September came round, we were back at school, supporting teachers in the delivery of PPA and CPD, as well as general cover. We even conducted some lessons via Zoom (where schools were not permitted to welcome visitors) so that entire classes could take part and benefit.  

Jam Coding is based in Lancashire, but we believe that all children should have access to our digital / life skills workshops. This year we were delighted to welcome 5 new franchise partners on board who will help us deliver computing education to children across the nation! 

To top of it off, we recently became finalists in the QFA’s Virtual Franchising Awards which celebrates innovation, achievement, and excellence within the franchising sector. The winners will be revealed on 29th January 2021 – keep your eyes peeled! 

What’s next for Jam Coding? 

Another year has passed but our vision remains clear. We want to reach as many children as possible and deliver life skills to the next generation of digital citizens.  

Jam Coding has an exciting year ahead with plans to further grow our franchise network and deliver workshops to new schools who have booked in with us for 2021! 

We will also be releasing some new fun and engaging extracurricular workshops to grow the digital knowledge of the children we teach. 

50 mile-ultra trail run for local charity

By Roger Grogan. Director of Jam Coding.

What do you do when you have a business that works in Primary Schools and Primary Schools are essentially shut?

It wasn’t a question that I was expecting to ask myself in 2020 but it was a situation that happened, and has affected us all. Obviously, during Lockdown, it has been a great opportunity to develop some new workshops and plans for the future of the business. It has also provided a further opportunity….

I have always been passionate about the local area and have networked with businesses in the Ribble Valley and across Lancashire for some time. As a part of this, I was introduced to the brilliant Lancashire Women’s charity. This charity has 3 centres across the region and support people with mental health, domestic abuse and financial support amongst other important areas. As we all know these services have been needed in Lockdown more than ever before. The rise in Domestic Abuse and Mental Health over the past 3 months has sadly been unprecedented. The tragic thing is the charity has suffered a serious downturn in sponsorship and fundraising due to the pandemic.

Running has always been important to me for both physical and mental well-being. During lockdown I found myself doing more and more miles to maintain this balance. As ‘Lockdown Lite’ was introduced I found myself running with friends. We had an idea. To run a 50-mile Ultra Marathon to help the Women’s Centre.

Our aim is simple; to ask for donations and raise as much money as we can. None of us has ever run this kind of distance before. It is going to be a real test but we are adamant we are going to help this brilliant local charity. If you can donate it would be much appreciated. If you cannot then please share our cause so we can reach as many people as possible.

Please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lancswomenultra if you are able to sponsor.

Thank you for reading. The Jam Coding team and I look forward to seeing you all in a school or classroom soon!

Read more about the adventure in our Lancashire Evening Post write-up here.

Jam Coding’s Guide to Instagram

Although you have to be thirteen to have an Instagram account, we are that this is not the case and that many primary aged children are in fact on Instagram.

Instagram has a reputation for having a strong influencer culture who flood Instagram with filtered selfies and food-pics. Unfortunately, this “doctored” representation of reality is having serious consequence to the mental health of some impressionable youngsters.

Nevertheless, children are going to use Instagram so it is important that they use it in a safe way!

Download our ‘Guide to Instagram’ to learn about Instagram and help your child understand how to use the platform responsibly.

Used safely, Instagram is an excellent creative outlet for a child to showcase their passions. This is particularly true if they have an interest in photography, as Instagram is most notably a visual platform.

Social media can be a great thing. A budding artist can post their creations. The next Mary Berry or Jamie Oliver can post their bakes and recipes!

So download our guide and talk with your child about they can get the most out of Instagram!

G-Suite for Education. Apply for funded support.

G-Suite for Education. Apply for funded support.

Through our connection with Bett, we recently learned about a brilliant opportunity available to schools who do not currently have a digital education platform.

Schools can now apply for Education-funded support to get set up on one of two free-to-use digital education platforms: G Suite for Education and Office 365 Education.

Why G Suite for Education?

Google and Microsoft can each help you to create a virtual school that mimics real-life schooling as closely as possible. G Suite for Education contains a free set of productivity tools for classroom collaboration. Accessible from any device, it is used by over 120m+ users worldwide and enables teachers and students to continue teaching and learning remotely.

No matter which platform you choose, you won’t have to compromise on your pupils’ education or sense of community. You’ll be able to live-stream assemblies, upload video lessons, set work and provide feedback so pupils can continue learning. Learn more.

Further to the virtual opportunity with G-Suite; It is also excellent for use in the classroom allowing instant feedback opportunities, learner assessment and progress and easy classroom management of curriculum subjects. G-Suite is something we have used in some of our CPD and PPA schools first hand.

How do I get G Suite for Education for my school? Learn about the set-up process here.

To apply for funding, visit the digital education platform hub over at The Key Support to get started. 

Jam Coding’s Guide to TikTok

It’s the latest social media trend to have youngsters fixated but in spite of a rapid rise in popularity there are still many, mostly parents and older people, who aren’t quite sure what TikTok is.

Download our ‘Guide to TikTok’ to learn about TikTok and help your child understand how to use the platform responsibly.

Used safely TikTok can be a fun and creative platform that children can enjoy, so download our guide and talk with your child about they can get the most out of TikTok!

Jam Academy. Laptop, tuition and virtual code coach all in one.

Jam Academy. Laptop, tuition and virtual code coach all in one.

We hope all our coders, parents and teachers are safe and well. As a business, we have been hit hard by the necessity for schools to close. To put it simply we have lost access to 100% of our customers.

We truly believe that something good can and will come out of every situation. No matter how difficult. Exceptional times cause exceptional problems which need exceptional solutions.

EXCEPTIONAL TIMES

We always planned to offer a distance-learning option. We knew there were so many children that weren’t accessing our courses that we felt it was something we needed to introduce.

The feedback from our first students has been incredible. I think we have struck the right balance of fun, education and creative tasks to keep children engaged and happy. The Academy offer is simple:

  1. Parents and guardians sign up to the academy either as a weekly subscription or 7 week block.
  2. They then receive a laptop and some simple instructions to get logged on.
  3. The laptop is pre-loaded with educational software for their children to learn digital literacy, coding and computing as well as cross-curricular subjects such as maths, english PE and so on…
  4. The virtual classroom will contain tasks, challenges and lessons for children to complete then submit work back to the group.
  5. Ongoing support and assistance is provided by Jam Coding.
  6. We will be setting these workshops with detailed explanatory videos and notes for children to use.
  7. New content will be posted and added to the library on a regular basis to ensure children have plenty of new lessons and challenges.

The workshops are cross-curricular and allow children to continue their education whilst schools are closed at a time convenient to them. This will supplement and enrich any lessons that are also being sent from school. The sessions will be fun, engaging and challenging and are for Years 1 – 6. 

All materials are written by qualified teaching professionals from Jam Coding and the teaching community.

The Jam Academy will open on the 30th March 2020 and people can join at any time that suits them.Book Now

HOW TO JOIN THE JAM ACADEMY

If you want to access the Jam Academy please order through our website here:

Please note:

  • All laptops will be dropped off directly to your house and left in a secure place.
  • All technology has been fully anti-bacterially cleansed.
  • Staff dropping off laptops will use anti-bacterial precautions as required.
  • We ask that equipment is re-cleansed before being returned.
  • After your hire period you can arrange to carry on with your hire and tuition package or return your laptop.
  • We will htne pick your laptop back up.
  • There is a £50 refundable deposit for the laptop.*

Book Now

*Terms and conditions apply. By purchasing a Jam Academy hire scheme you agree to our Terms and Conditions.

Jam Coding on the Radio! Our history and addressing the Digital Divide

On 14th January Coach Roger popped into to see the awesome Ribble FM team to tell his story, talk about Jam Coding and discuss the future of the business. Click here to listen to the full broadcast: Jam Coding – Our history and addressing the Digital Divide

Coding Careers; The Jobs of the Future.

So your child has been to a Jam Coding Workshop and now they love all things coding!

Well then, do we have some great news for you, because the future job market for coders and programmers is very attractive indeed.

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How and Why Computer Education Needs to Change

Computer Science education needs a shakeup. The world and technology have moved on from basic word processing and excel spreadsheets, yet the computing curriculum has not. Why are we still educating the young with outdated computing practices when we could start equipping children with the computational ability required of the future workforce?

WHATS THE BIG DEAL?

The future workforce will not have the necessary skills:

Lack of computing expertise has been highlighted as a great concern with respect to its effect on the future workforce. The issue has been brought to light by both The Royal Society (the UK’s independent scientific academy) and The Department for Education, who state that computer science education is vital “to ensure our future workforce has the skills we need to drive the future productivity and economy of this country”.

Too much viewing. Not enough doing!:

It is becoming the norm for three and four-year-olds to have access to either an iPhone, IPad or tablet device. Statistics show that under-fives now watch close to 3 hours of videos a day. Although it is very beneficial for children to learn how to navigate technology from a young age, this kind of passive consumption of media through technology will do nothing in the way of creating a better future through technology.

WHATS THE SOLUTION?

Create more. Consume less:

At present, children are absorbed in using technology for the mindless viewing of digital media. They swipe their iPads, tap their iPhones and passively consume the content on their devices without thinking about the actual process behind the machinery being used.

Instead of teaching children to see computers as mechanical boxes on which to type word documents, send emails and watch YouTube, we need to teach them to be innovative thinkers, creative builders, and to understand and unlock the true potential of the software they are using.

In her brilliant TED Talk back in 2016, children’s book author and instructor for beginner programmers Linda Luikas,  discusses the potential of children to harness the power of computers, if they approach them with a creative and entrepreneurial mindset.

Unfortunately, this approach has not been adopted by the Computing curriculum.

Get Coding:

The world today is dominated by software. We demand programmers and coders to create new innovations, to fuel the economy, and even contribute to scientific breakthroughs. Learning to code has become a vital life skill, so much so that, in the near future, not knowing how to code is going to be the same as being illiterate or innumerate today.

Code is the next universal language.

– Linda Luikas

Through learning to code children can develop numerous valuable skills, including creativity, problem-solving, collaboration, and communication. So regardless of whether you do or do not have aspirations to be a future coder or programmer, there is still something to be gained from providing high-quality computing education for the young.

THE KEY POINTS

  • Technology has progressed and so too should the computing cur
  • With the current approach, we are instilling a dangerously restrictive view of computers in our children. We have to change this outlook.
  • We need to encourage children to change the way they view technology- to think innovatively, be creative and not use computers so passively.
  • Getting more young people to learn how to code is vitally important for their skill sets as part of the future workforce, and towards creating a prosperous economy, fuelled by technological innovation.

The outdated school curriculum is simply not an adequate means of creating such positive change. That is why Jam Coding have been working hard for over 5 years to provide as many schools and children as possible with innovative computing programmes.

Want to get involved? Call us on 01254 480470 Or drop us an email at info@jamcoding.co.uk

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