Commissioner’s Digital Challenge
What is it?
The Commissioner’s Digital Challenge is a free year-round recurring Challenge for every child in South Australia – to increase the uptake of digital skills in this generation.
The Challenge can be completed by children at home with their families, or at registered schools, or in community groups such as Girl Guides and Scouts or at the local library. The Challenge is an approved Children’s University Adelaide learning destination.
(Above) The Digital Learning Journey
Each year the Commissioner’s Digital Challenge grows with a different area of the digital learning journey added to the mix. The Challenge website also contains an extensive library of resources for extended learning for children, families and teachers across all 5 core areas of the digital learning journey.
In early 2019, the Commissioner introduced her first challenge – Learn to Speak Robot. This is a digital thinking challenge that will run each year. It teaches computational thinking and practical coding using a range of carefully curated activities from reputable providers including the Digital Technologies Hub, CS Unplugged, Code.org’s Hour of Code, Grok Learning’s Hour of Code, Microsoft’s MakeCode and projects from Code Club Australia.
In mid-2019 the Commissioner introduced Early Learning Unplugged. This is a 100% unplugged version of the Challenge specially designed for children aged 3-5. Younger children can learn the fundamentals of computational thinking without using a device – by simply playing a game of hide & seek or creating their own robot dance routine with Cody Buttons cut-outs.
In January 2020 the Commissioner will release Space to Dream, a design thinking challenge with an outer space theme. Children will receive access to free 3D design tools from Makers Empire and the Commissioner will offer an unplugged option.
During her 2017 Listening Tour, the Commissioner asked children around South Australia what was important to them. They told the Commissioner they wanted to be taught the things they need to know now, so they will have more opportunities to participate in creative activities. They also told her they had concerns about having the skills for high tech jobs of the future. In response to these and other voices, one of the Commissioner’s key focus areas is to engage and empower young digital citizens.
The Challenge has been introduced to better equip children, young people and their families in South Australia to understand the digital world and feel empowered to access its benefits through their digital skills and capabilities.
It’s also about providing educators who lack experience or confidence in this area a really simple way to get started with digital learning in their classrooms – and a way for educators who are across these areas to share this learning with their colleagues.
As we move forward in this technological age, digital inclusion largely equates to social inclusion. Digital empowerment also provides accessible tools and ways to bridge impossible gaps in equality that exist in society. So this Challenge is all about increasing digital inclusion to promote digital empowerment across the board.
In its inaugural year (2019) more than 213 schools have registered to take part in the Challenge including many from regional and remote locations with over 32 libraries around the state also registered to run Challenge programs.
To show the full picture of engagement comprehensive statistics will be published after the first year of the Challenge closes on 27 September 2019.