CodeSkillz is a local start-up aimed at teaching high school children digitally. They were recently awarded €100.000 to expand their teaching programme.
Earlier, the startup received a substantial loan from Simac Techniek N.V. This money was used to explore the market and set up a proof-of-concept. CodeSkillz developed the first two chapters of the plan. They also run learning labs at five schools in the Brainport region. “Teachers are very enthusiastic about the teaching method,” says Bergmans. “The students are also very motivated.”
“Nowadays, everyone has to deal with computers, not just those people who choose it as a science subject,” says Glenn Bergmans. He and his fellow Eindhoven University of Technology alumni, Laura Nijenhuis en Joris W. van Rijn, founded this institution. “We think it is essential that all kids understand the world they are growing up in.”
More than just coding
CodeSkills teaches more than simply programming. This start-up specifically does not want to offer the umpteenth programming workshop to students. “We have a digital literacy component too,” adds Laura. “Here, children learn how to, for example, choose a strong password or how to compile a presentation.”
The course is offered in an online study package. Since everything is digital, the course can be adapted to new innovations. There is, however, always a teacher in class who can explain things. “There is nothing wrong with education, in itself,” explains Joris. “It is just the teaching methods that are lagging. Written material gets outdated quickly. In this case, we find that doing things digitally is better.”
With their digital teaching method, the three founders can anticipate future changes in the curriculum. This encourages high schools to digitise both the content and form of education. As part of the so-called 21st-century skills, schools must work on issues such as Computational Thinking, basic ICT skills, and digital literacy.
Digital to become integral
The new curriculum will be presented to the Lower House at the end of this year. In it, digital skills will become an integral part of Dutch education. “High time!” says Glenn. “Until now, this material has only been taught through workshops and extracurricular activities. But working with computers is now a basic skill.”
This plan was drawn up together with investors, Erwin van den Bosch, Henk Cloudt, and Hen Snackers. In addition to financing, they also provide advice on business operations. Hen Snackers says, “We believe in the social impact of IT education that is appropriate to the current time and generation. CodeSkillz offers the platform to implement this successfully. We look forward to being able to contribute to this. ”
In the future, CodeSkillz wants to develop into a digital publisher. They also want to develop digital methods for other subjects. This programme focuses on developing a teaching method that does not replace teachers but, instead, supports them. “Lessons are the hub of a good education. We do not have to change anything about that,” emphasises Glenn.
CodeSkillz wants to make their teaching programme available to as many schools as possible.
Translator: Melinda Walraven