Coding a website

This term the children are having a crack at creating a website. They’re learning how a webpage is structured, what language is used to create a website and how to style their pages.

Learning HTML and CSS (the two essential markup languages used to create a website) at young age is challenging. But at coding club I make sure the children learn all the foundation skills they need in order to tackle these challenges.

Creating a website about Pichu

One of the first hurdles when programming young is that most children don’t know how to use the keyboard. Not only do they learn to use the keyboard and the ‘special characters’ needed when writing code, but they also learn how code is constructed and how important it is to type with accuracy. The children quickly appreciate that any missing semi-colon or ‘curly’ bracket will mean their code simply will not run as expected.

Paying attention to detail, learning to be patient and staying calm when things go wrong are all critical skills that they acquire when coding. Everyone makes mistakes (and this is how we learn) but knowing how to spot the problem is crucial to a successful outcome.

Another important element of learning to make a website is understanding about images and their different formats. Sourcing images from the web; learning how to use them and manipulate them with code – these are skills that are essential to their understanding of how images work for the web.

I’m pleased to see that all the children that have been coding with me for some time are making some great mini-websites – often using their favourite characters! They feel confident enough to tackle the code and are beginning to show me they can debug the code by themselves before calling for help.

 

 

Make a Pokémon game in Scratch

The Curzon Clevedon was once again the venue for a workshop on ‘How to make a Pokémon game in Scratch’.

The game the children made consisted of adding a Pokémon trainer that could catch the childrens’ favourite Pokémons using three different poké balls. Pokemon game in Scratch

The children learnt how to manipulate their favourite Pokémon images in Scratch and animate the balls in order to catch Pokémons. Once the Pokémons were ‘caught’, these followed their trainer everywhere s/he went. There were different variations of the game, but all the children amused themselves by solving the challenges.

Kids coding at the Curzon Clevedon

Look out for more workshops coming up at the Clevedon Curzon.

 

 

Is 14 too late to start coding?

Girl coder

Clearly, someone can learn to code at any age. I would not go as far to say that children who learn to code at primary school age should be taking a GCSE in Computer Science – but it is my view that those choosing their GCSE options when they are 14 who haven’t already been introduced to coding will be far less likely to choose to pursue Computer Science at GCSE.

Coding allows children to be creative and to develop many skills such as problem-solving and applying mathematical concepts. They also learn to collaborate with their peers. All this will help them throughout their time at school and beyond.

However, children who do coding from an early age – in or out of school – may go on to become the technologists of the future.

I truly believe that introducing coding from a young age open up a child’s options. Children have free spirits, learn quickly and have very creative minds; they like exploring and tinkering; most of all they have fun.

I have 7-year olds at coding club who are already creating their first games. I have also seen young coders move on to secondary school and continue to code on their own.

I’d like to see more secondary schools offer creative coding workshops to help children discover there’s a lot more to coding.

 

Creating games with Hopscotch

Years 1 & 2 enjoyed creating their own games with Hopscotch. The app is intended for 8+ year olds but it can also be used with younger children that are confident using ScratchJr. In our case, most of the children had been creating games with ScratchJr and Hopscotch was the perfect follow up.

Hopscotch is a drag and drop code block programming application, which enabled children to create their own interactive games and stories.

The children learnt how to use the iPad’s features like touch and orientation and use these in their creations. They also learned about coordinates, pixels and how to use emoji’s as characters for their projects as well as the logic needed to animate their characters. Check this project out.

Hopscotch it a great app for learning coding, but it can be a bit challenging for some children if they haven’t grasped the basics. If that is the case, then the ScratchJr app might be more suitable.Learning to code with Hopscotch