In 2016 Chris Habberton started exploring why Computer Science was only capturing a small percentage of students in the South African schooling system. The obvious issue was Computer Science being perceived to be a subject for a specific group of students that have a certain mathematical ability or are of a particular gender or ethnicity. This drove him deeper into researching solutions to making Computer Science accessible to all students.
Internationally, a movement began where specialists were developing and providing resources to Intermediate and Senior students that made programming more accessible. Unfortunately, the economic climate in South Africa prevented these resources from reaching students due to poor infrastructure; such as the need for computing devices per learner and internet access.
Chris then turned his attention to Computational Thinking and how it can contribute to the development of logical thinking not only to be applied in Computer Science but all forms of thinking. He started to focus on early child development and how Computational Thinking can be taught and practiced with children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old.
Mid 2017 Chris and his wife, Monique, approached the Relatomics Foundation with their research and plan to start the in.code project at Felixton College. The in.code project was born. Chris began writing Computational lesson plans that were aligned to the South African Grade R CAPs document using the most advanced tools available. Monique facilitated extra-curricular classes from Grade RR – Grade 2 (5 – 8 year-olds), feeding back information that helped define the in.code curriculum.
2018 was a year of growth both in the number of students and as a team. Terri Cawood joined the in.code team, initially as a facilitator but later grew into her role as Project Director. Terri’s interest was first sparked with seeing the interest her young boys were showing in the lessons and how they began demonstrating definite computational thinking into their general play. Terri now has both the parent and teacher perspective of the program with only high praise and a passion for the vision to make this program accessible to all young children.