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.

Gaming Disorder. A Recognised Mental Health Condition.

At the very beginning of last year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) published the latest version of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD -11). The revised 11th edition saw the inclusion of a condition called “Gaming Disorder”. Up until then, “Gaming Disorder”  had only been listed as a “condition for further study” within the 2013 fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

What is Gaming Disorder? Signs and Symptoms 

A person with Gaming Disorder, as defined in ICD-11 by WHO, will show the following characteristics for at least 12 months:

  • lacking control over their gaming habits
  • prioritizing gaming over other interests and activities
  • continuing gaming despite its negative consequences

To be diagnosed, these behaviors must be so severe that they affect a person’s:

  • family life
  • social life
  • personal life
  • education
  • work

(Source: Medical News Today)

Should “Gaming Disorder” be a recognised medical condition?

The decision to recognise Gaming Disorder as a  “condition” (that is treatable on the NHS) experienced a mix response:

Dr Richard Graham, a lead technology addiction specialist, was complementary towards the decision to recognise the condition which he believes “is significant because it creates the opportunity for more specialised services” and “puts it on the map as something to take seriously.”  

Among the gaming community however, there is the perception that this could lead to over-reaction and further scrutiny of a hobby that is already greatly stigmatised. The concern is that parents will rush to the conclusion that their child plays ‘too much’ and that this is detrimental to their mental health. 

Although he welcomed the decision, Dr. Rchard Graham added that he is sympathetic to those who do not think the condition should be medicalised because “It could lead to confused parents whose children are just enthusiastic gamers.” 

So are computers bad for your health?

Although computers, the internet, and smartphones do facilitate gaming, they are not the cause of  “Gaming Disorder”. These platforms were actually part of the WHO’s original research but were not deemed to be concerning in comparison to the addictive nature of gaming. 

It should also be mentioned that Gaming Disorder is still a rare condition, with a prevalence rate among young people of 10-15% in several Asian countries and, 1%-10% in Western countries.

Nevertheless, how technology is used determines whether or not it will be detrimental to health & well-being. In fact, recent research from the University of Oxford found that the majority of children successfully incorporate digital technology and screen-based activities into their daily lives, even using it to their benefit, for example with homework. 

“People think that children are addicted to technology and in front of these screens 24/7, to the exclusion of other activities – and we now know that is not the case.”

– Researcher,  Killian Mullan.

So before computers are condemned to be bad for the health & well-being of young people, it is important to acknowledge that for the majority, computers are used sensibly, safely and positively. And that is what we encourage at Jam Coding. 

We promote the safe and productive use of computers, even encouraging the kids who attend our workshops to go home and play outside afterward. What is more, our workshops were actually designed to teach children to use computers properly, by this we mean not just to play idly on them but to create, communicate and collaborate using the power of technology. They offer a 360 degree approach to eSafety. We are proud to have helped to raise the computing experience of thousands of learners, showing them that computers are for more than just gaming and all whilst helping them stay safe online.

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.

(more…)

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

Who Are Jam Coding?

Jam Coding is a provider of quality computing provision for children, parents, and schools in the UK.  Founded in 2014 by teacher and coder, Roger Grogan, we have been providing schools with innovative computing workshops over the last 5 years.

Today, we are the North West’s number 1 computer coding provider for children,

WHAT WE DO:

We run computing workshops

From programming a robot, to creating a stop motion film or building their own website, the children that attend our courses have the opportunity to explore how they can use IT with their peers in incredibly positive and creative ways.

Whether proficient or a novice, it doesn’t matter; our clubs are structured to be fully inclusive for anyone that attends.

We help children stay safe online.  

E-Safety is a growing concern for the government. Schools, Colleges and Community Groups have a huge responsibility in helping young people stay safe online. Our eSafety workshops were designed in conjunction with O2 and offer a 360 degree approach to eSafety.

These workshops have had a huge uptake and are another example of continual product development that allows Jam Coding to have a positive impact on the communities that they work.

We teach our core values :

Create, Collaborate and Communicate with Confidence.

We foster these values in our kids during our fun, interactive workshops. Our Four Cs represent fundamental life skills and attitudes and abilities for innovation. The “Four Cs” strengthen our learners’ ability to find their place – academically, personally, socially – in today’s fast-changing world.

WHY WE DO IT:

Jam Coding sees good computing knowledge and proficiency as a life-skill. 

Technology is advancing at an incredible rate, and we’re just getting started. Jam Coding believes that there’s never been a more exciting time to advance our culture – starting with our youngest ones.

Unfortunately, there is currently a huge disparity across schools in the level of confidence that children have on computers.

The current delivery of Computing education in many UK schools is highly unsatisfactory… many pupils are not inspired by what they are taught and gain nothing beyond basic digital literacy skills such as how to use a word-processor or a database”        

– The Royal Society, 2017

Every kid deserves the chance to unlock their innate, unlimited capacity to learn. Whether or not they pursue coding as a career, we want to provide kids with skills that will help them pursue their dreams.

HOW WE DO IT:

Our network of Jam Coding coaches, variety of different computing resources and multiple workshop opportunities allow us to deliver in excess of 100 sessions per month to 10,000’s of coders.

We run after-school coding and e-safety workshops as well as Computing curriculum cover in a number of primary schools based in the North West, Lancashire.

Each young person that experiences our workshops receives the highest quality code-coaching, resources, and instruction available.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? Want to get involved? We’d love to hear from you.

Call: 07590 062702

Email: info@jamthinking.co.uk

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