STEMiverse 0012 - Nicola O’Brien

July 12, 2017

In this episode of STEMiverse, Marcus and I talk with Nicola O'Brien.

Nicola is the founder of Code Rangers, a company based in Sydney that teachers children how to code, develop games, and apps. Nicola's created Code Rangers after a long career in corporate Law and Finance. She is particularly pationate about programming and understands the importance of technology literacy as a basic prerequisite for our children's digital future.

Let's listen to Nicola as she describes her teaching philosophy as she applies it in Code Rangers.

Show notes

[00:00] Introduction - Introducing Nicola O'Brien
[01:38] Nicola talks about her background and her company Code Rangers
[02:40] Nicola's professional journey: From acquiring Law and Accounting degrees, to becoming a finance lawyer, a financial analyst, to learning Visual Basic and exploring coding, as well as her father's influence as a computer scientist
[04:52] What triggered Nicola's change from Law to Education
[06:08] Nicola as a child
[07:39] Nicola's teaching experience before starting Code Rangers
[08:31] The influence having children had on Nicola
[10:08] Why Coding was Nicola's subject of choice
[11:10] The leap from Ethics lessons to teaching Coding
[13:34] What outcomes parents are looking for and what their expectations are
[15:27] Nicola's teaching tools: Scratch and Makey Makey for younger kids, Python for older ones
[15:53] Scratch
[17:43] Tab vs 3 Spaces
[18:18] Web development using Thimble by Mozilla
[18:59] Micro:bit
[21:11] Combining scripted lessons with student exploration
[22:17] How students deal with challenges: Troubleshooting
[24:45] Code Rangers' Schedule
[25:58] If you had unlimited budget how would you design an ideal educational system: PD for teachers
[29:13] How to get kids interested in technology
[31:47] Character qualities for technology teachers: Being observant, empathetic and encouraging
[33:50] Code Rangers' company size
[34:37] Rapid Fire Questions
[34:50] Who has been the most influential in shaping the way you teach: Seymour Pappert
[35:03] Apps you cannot leave without: Zapier
[36:38] Professional Development Conferences and Workshops: Networking, Twitter chat: #aussieED @aussieEDchat, @edchatNZ, #whatisschool
[40:00] Parting Thoughts, Dos and Don'ts
[40:38] Nicola's Contact Info: Code Rangers' Website

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