Updated: It's official: we're on our way to Malta this summer
At CodeToday we are very proud of the contribution we have made to the London scene of children's coding - we have set out to deliver courses that shy away from gimmicks and gadgets and focus on proper programming, using a proper programming language, Python. Children and parents love our courses (why else would we get over 75% of course attendees book another course within three months of their first?) and we love delivering them!
We are pleased to be able to bring these courses to kids in Malta this summer, with dates in July already confirmed, and we are already taking bookings for these courses. Read all the details here: children's coding courses in Malta, including the 15% early booking discount.
What should children and parents expect from the courses?
We believe there are two necessary key ingredients for teaching a specialist subject such as coding: exceptional content and exceptional delivery. Our courses focus on both. The content needs to be engaging and fun for the kids, of course, but also thorough so that they actually learn how to code, including how to think in the logical way needed to communicate with a computer, problem-solve, and use errors as an opportunity to learn — these are all skills that are essential for coding and, one might argue, essential for life in general.
But great content is useless if it cannot be communicated effectively. Coding is often taught in the 'monkey-see-monkey-do' style in which an adult asks students to copy code because that's the easiest way to "teach" coding. We disagree, strongly. We want students to understand how the computer "thinks", to try things out, to make errors and learn how to fix them, so that they can go back home confident that they can start tackling other coding projects independently.
Our approach is to introduce a number of fundamental topics in coding within the context of a project - such as writing an animation or game. Some examples of the projects students attending our courses work on may be seen here: Python coding projects for children in Malta
You can read more about coding for children in my article on The Sunday Times of Malta (21 May 2017)
Are the courses suitable for my children? Are they too young? Is it OK if they have no experience in coding?
At CodeToday we only run one type of course: coding using a text-based programming language (Python).
We are often asked whether children are too young to be doing 'proper' coding; the answer is no as long as they are at least about 8 years old — we have designed courses that focus on teaching key tools in coding in a manner that is suitable for each age group (we run courses for 8-11 and 12-15 year olds), and we have fine-tuned the delivery of the sessions to ensure children understand programming thoroughly. Our view is that from the age of about 8 children should be rapidly moving on from children-specific coding platforms such as Scratch or similar 'drag-and-drop' software to a text-based programming language, Python being the most appropriate one. Kids who use children-specific platforms for too long often get bored of them, with the risk they they might think coding is boring. Once they move to Python programming they realise how much more empowering this type of coding is!
My professional career as a scientist took me away from Malta almost two decades ago when I moved to London to start my PhD studies having just completed my undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Physics at the University of Malta. And although I have been back yearly (often several times a year) on holidays, CodeToday finally gives me the opportunity to bring my skills and experience from London back to Malta to help Maltese children learn how to code: a skill which is rapidly becoming increasing important in our society not just because there will be more software development jobs available in the future but because more jobs will require some knowledge of computer programming. Coding is the language our children will need to shape the future, rather than just be a part of it.
Update 22/05/17: Added link to Sunday Times of Malta article
Stephen Gruppetta graduated in Physics and Mathematics from the University of Malta in 2000 and obtained his PhD in Physics from Imperial College London in 2004. After a successful career in academia working on developing novel imaging systems for detecting eye disease, and doing a lot of programming as part of his scientific research, he moved on and set up CodeToday.