Krystian Kozerawski

is creating free programming lessons for children in Poland

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About Krystian Kozerawski

Teaching for free school kids in Poland how to code

Over six years ago, when my older son was 4,5 old and he just become able to write and read I have accidentally started to teach him how to code writing on a piece of paper a few simple instruction how to collect Lego bricks o the same colour and size. When I realised that he just got it instantly I started to write down more of such simple code. He got known about loops and conditional instructions. Later I taught him how to code with and other online content, then Swift Playgrounds came, and we switched to my iPad Air 2. At that time he was six years old and he was in first grade class of elementary school where I conducted a lesson in new technology, including programmable robots, simple VR and holograms projected from my iPad via special prism constructed from a ew CD-ROM covers. Soon after that lesson I realised that instead of teaching at home just my older son I could teach his entire class.

In Poland, at school kids attend so-called computer science lessons, where they are taught basic computer skills. While still needed they are quite reproductive (like painting in MS Paint is one of the examples). I am of the opinion that after gaining reading and writing skills they should be taught basics of programming. And it is not even because the programmer is still one of the most sought-after professionals on the market (tens of thousands of programmers are wanted on the European market), but programming let them be creative and enable them to find solutions for many problems in real life.

I shared the idea with other parents of kids from my older son’s class, I have also shared the idea with the teacher and the principal and in November 2016 I started to teach children of my older's son class basics of coding in Swift using Swift Playgrounds. After two years there is a group from the class that now is taking first steps in writing simple real apps for iOS (yes, I still teach them). And now I am also teaching the first graders o the class of my younger son.

All lessons I conduct are free of charge either for kids, parents and school. I do it voluntary, pro bono.

Lesson scheme
In each lesson the scheme is more or less similar. For the first year I teach them using only Swift Playgrounds, a blackboard and chalk. We discuss each next board in Swift Playgrounds, watching it from different sides, and then the children come forward and propose further commands to be introduced on the iPad. At the end, we run the code and check if the creature actually does what it should and, if necessary, we correct errors. Usually, in one lesson, we are able to complete from two to four boards, depending on the degree of complexity. Later, in the second year o the course I am bringing with me my MacBook Pro and we also write simple apps in Xcode Playground.

Technical details
I decided not to use class computers for several reasons. Programming lessons were meant to be fun, rather than immediately punching the code on a computer keyboard . And the computers in my son’s class are quite old and they are not even connected to the network.

Choosing a tool and application for learning was obvious to me, because I had already taught my older son the basics of programming on the iPad in the Swift Playgrounds application. I had her tested. The creature called Byte is friendly, the whole is in the form of a simple game, and the tasks themselves are not initially too complicated

Of course I was aware that most children do not have their iPads, so I decided to use a projector. I am taking a mobile router, a 3rd gen Apple TV and a projector (different models I am able to borrow from my friends). The image from the iPad is sent to Apple TV via AirPlay, and then to the projector through which it is displayed on the screen.

Later I got one iPad Pro from Nozbe, also I bought myself additional six iPads 10,2 (2019).  At present there is one iPad per three kids. It is much better now that teaching kids with only one iPad. However more equipment is still needed. Ideally would be one iPad per two children or one iPad per child. 

Plans for the future
  1. More iPads for pupils. Ideally it would be one iPad per child, but one iPad per two children would be good.
  2. Teaching more classes in more schools. I have been asked by teachers from other schools if I could provide the lessons for their classes. It takes time, and some of the schools are on the other end of my home city of Lodz.
  3. Providing more advanced topics for older classes and not to limit only to Swift Playgrounds and Swift. More courses are also in plan, like Scratch for younger kids, and app developing in Xcode, introduction to Python etc.
  4. Two weeks of summer holiday open school for children that stay in the city for summer (there has been no such activity for children free of charge).
$162.14 of $270 per month
$270/month will cover the cost of leasing iPads used by children in my Swift coding lessons.
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