unplugged coding

Prof. Jean Greyling

  • Duration: 60min
  • Language: English
  • Ages: All Ages
  • Date: November 05, 2021 17:00
  • Recorded: Live session with recording available afterwards
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In South Africa 16000 out of 25000 schools do not have computer laboratories, while many existing laboratories in schools are dysfunctional. This is within the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the desperate shortage of software developers in the country as well as the government’s plans to roll out Coding and Robotics as a subject in all primary schools. Furthermore, coding is not only relevant to careers in software development. It can be used very effectively with regards to other much needed skills such as problem solving and computational thinking.

The webinar will show how unplugged coding (coding without computers) activities can be utilized not only in disadvantaged schools, but as the preferred way to introduce learners to coding, even in well-resourced schools. Our project started in 2017 when Honours computing sciences student, Byron Batteson, developed the TANKS coding app at Nelson Mandela University. Since 2017 over 25000 learners have been reached directly, while our coding kits have been distributed to over 500 schools. The project has received various national and global accolades, including acknowledgement from USESCO as well as the Falling Walls movement in Germany, for its unique role in future learning.


Prof Jean Greyling is an Associate Professor in Computing Sciences at Nelson Mandela University. He mainly teaches programming modules, focusing on introductory programming. He has supervised various Honours, Masters and PhD students, and published numerous conference and journal papers. His main interest is in engaging with learners, get them enthusiastic about software development as a career opportunity. For the past 3 years he has coordinated a coding program that has reached around 25 000 learners across the country. The main tool for this project is a mobile app TANKS, which was developed by his 2017 Honours
student Byron Batteson. In 2019 Prof Greyling was the IT Personality of the Year for the Eastern Cape Chapter of the IITPSA. He has also received various other local, national and international accolades for the project.