Voices of CITC Students: the Impact of the Programme on their Lives
July 27, 2022
To celebrate the learning journey of Code in the Community students and to look ahead at programme continuation in coming years, a partnership mobilisation event was organised with support of Google and IMDA in May 2022. The article is based on CITC students’ sharing about the impact the programme has made in their lives.
Zia is a Secondary 4 student who has been part of Code in the Community’s Scratch and Python programme. Beyond her learning at CITC, Zia serves as a captain of a robotics club at her school to continue her learning journey and pursue her interests in technology.
What did you find difficult in the CITC class and how were you able to overcome the challenges?
When working on my project, I wanted to include a lot of information in the tool I was coding, so the users find it helpful. I knew I didn’t want to overwhelm them but at the same time, I didn’t want to include too little information that users can’t learn anything new. Hence my challenge was to decide what information is essential and effectively paraphrase the information in a way that users can understand and learn from.
Aside from this, another challenge was to identify the errors in the code. Software can help identify the line where the error is located, but we need to look further as each line consists of many codes. This means we need to look at each item we typed. This is quite troublesome, and it can be frustrating for me.
So to overcome these challenges, I thought of some solutions and tried them out.
Firstly, I put myself in the shoes of the user and see which part of the information will actually help me if I were a user. So I kept the part of the information and excluded the part that was not as helpful.
Secondly, I learned that feeling frustrated when looking for the errors makes it harder to find the errors, so I learned to remain patient. And if I really cannot find the error, I learned to ask for help from instructors. They have also helped me improve my coding skills overall by giving me tips and advice.
Ian is a Secondary 1 student who has been part of Code in the Community’s Scratch and Python programme. Prior to CITC, Ian didn’t have any other sustained training in STEM but the programme planted the seed of love for STEM in him, guiding his decision to apply to School of Science and Technology.
Are there any learnings from CITC which helped you in school and life?
To be accepted to SST, we need to apply through Direct School Admission for secondary schools which requires a portfolio. Code In the Community helped build my portfolio and establish the foundation of coding, which is part of STEM, the DSA domain I wanted to apply for. After learning the basics of coding through CITC Scratch class (block-based language), I was able to learn other coding languages such as Python and other micro-computers so I can add more to the portfolio.
At school, we are also learning to code but not all my classmates know about block-based coding so this has given me a head start in the class too!
I also want to mention that Code in the Community has a final project and we need to present the project to the class. We are asked to think about a project that will apply different coding concepts learned. It requires a lot of patience and perseverance to get the code to successfully work. And presentation skill has helped me a lot in school.
Truman is a Secondary 2 student who has been part of CITC Python programme. He has been an eager CITC student travelling even to a class that is far from his home so that he can continue his learning!
What would you like to say to future CITC students?
When you first start coding, without prior knowledge, you will find it tough and challenging, and extremely confusing because these are all very new concepts.
But reflecting on my experience, including the time I could not really understand anything at all, if you take your learning pace at a slower speed, you will definitely have fun in learning this [coding].
This will definitely impact your life as now your knowledge about technology has increased. I think the CITC programme is useful because the knowledge and understanding about coding and technology will help you in the long-run as technology is always advancing at a fast pace.
*Ms Rahayu Mahzam was promoted to Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Health and Ministry of Law in June 2022.