Garden International School has recently become the first school in Malaysia to be recognised as a GitHub Campus Program partner school. Indicative of the expertise and quality of teaching of Coding at GIS, this recent accreditation means that GIS students will have access to a wide range of professional tools to aid them in developing their code.
In the last 5 years, GIS students have written over 5,000 computer programs. With access to such teaching expertise and resources, their coding skills will inevitably continue to grow from strength to strength.
Our teachers are a pretty talented bunch, and Mr James Abela, Head of Computing, is certainly no exception. Now in his sixth year at GIS, he has been instrumental in ensuring that our Computer Science students and coding enthusiasts receive the very best instruction, enabling them to go on to some of the world’s most prestigious universities to develop their passion and expertise in the field.
Mr Abela, who was a computer programme developer prior to becoming a teacher, brings industry experience to the classroom. He sees a key part of his role as providing opportunities for his students to learn important skills that could literally change their futures. His passion is evident:
‘I love the moment when you see the cogs turning and students suddenly get the concept, they debug their code or they finish their program. Sometimes it’s subtle and sometimes you can hear ‘whoops’ as they solve those problems.’
Not confined to his classroom, Mr Abela’s contributions to GIS and the broader world of education are widely recognised. Not only are the GIS Dragons Coding team unbeaten in Kuala Lumpur, students, led by him, have also won both the FOBISIA and Malaysian Oxbridge Coding competitions. GIS developed an in-house gamification system that has been commended by Google, and students have even advised the Malaysian government and sat on industry panels to encourage women in coding. He says,
‘We constantly innovate. We don’t just follow the curriculum; we write it. Our team has even helped to write the UK curriculum for Computer Science!’
The most recent achievements to celebrate are Mr Abela’s ‘Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert for 2020-2021’ accreditation, which can be added to his ‘Apple Distinguished Educator’ and ‘Google Innovator’ awards. This is not to overshadow the recent publication of his book ‘The Gamified Classroom’, which, in August 2020, made it onto the Amazon Bestsellers List.
Evidently, Mr Abela’s passion for his subject and learning inspire many- within his classroom, our GIS community and beyond. Thank you for all that you do for Computing at GIS, Mr Abela!