Online coding clubs

Since March 2020 we have been offering learning opportuities online tailored to suit different ages and abilities.

Primary


Our Coding in Scratch courses are suitable for children in Years 3 – 6. Every week, they create new projects carefully designed to help them grasp the key principles of computer programming. Each term, the children are challenged with puzzles that nurture and build their computational thinking skills. Our Scratch courses are ideal for any child starting their coding journey or for the more advanced coder who needs to be challenged a little more.

This acedemic year we’ve added a new course to our offer – Coding in Minecraft – in which the children learn to code inside the Minecraft environment. This course does not teach Minecraft, but rather how to use code to automate builds and make modifications to a Minecraft World and change game play. The children use block programming to achieve this, making it ideal for beginners.

Secondary

Our courses for secondary school students are designed to provide opportunities to learn to program in different coding environments, and to expand their knowledge using Python and JavaScript – two of the most popular computer programming languages. The students develop an understanding of the language as well write lots of code to make games and small applications. They get to collaborate with each other and develop their problem-solving skills. A new Creative Coding course starts in January 2022.

We also offer block programming for secondary school students as part of our Make Arcade Games or Make Web Apps courses. These courses are suitable for students in Years 7 – 9 and designed to help them learn more about the principles of computer programming and how to design and prototype a game or App.

With all our courses our aim to help students develop their coding skills… and have an enjoyable time while learning.

Making JavaScript accessible to children

Over the last five weeks in one of our online coding clubs a group of Year 5 and 6 students have been making Apps using the JavaScript language.

Most of this particular group have been coding with Scratch for sometime and have a good understanding of basic computer programming principles. Most of them have also been learning online together since March 2020.

Learning to program in JavaScript is very different from making projects in Scratch. For a start, the children need to type in code and build an understanding of some of the issues that always come up when using text based programming – that is, bugs and how to debug.

The group have also learned about coordinates, variables and functions, and used the knowledge they have gained to make their own Apps and interact with them. I’m grateful to Bitsbox for creating a fantastic platform that provides fun characters and scenes for playing with.

It has been rewarding for me to witness how the children have understood the concepts quickly and applied them to their own projects.

There’s also little doubt that this group have developed their digital skills over many months of learning and collaborating together online. It’s great to see how comfortable they are using online chat and sharing their projects with their peers.

Well done to everyone that took part. Next term the children will be learning how to program the micro:bit.

Making Apps with App Lab

Some of my Year 7, 8 and 9 students have just had their fifth and final session this term building Apps with App Lab. They learned how to prototype, design and develop an App using the JavaScript language.

Learning how to interact with the objects on the screen and use ‘event-driven’ programming to make their Apps come to life was really challenging, but the students rose to the challenge and created and shared some terrific Apps. They even created their own App icon to access them on their phones.

Well done to everyone who participated and I look forward to seeing you next term for our new Programming with Python course – registration is now open.