So what do the kids get up to on a coding course?
As we have a holiday camp coming up during February half term it's a perfect opportunity to share more about what the kids actually get up to when learning to code with codetoday.
The kids coding camps we run during school holidays are a perfect opportunity for first time coders and those with more experience to learn and develop their coding skills. The camp set up ensures that children of similar ages and coding abilities are split into small study groups so they learn, practice and undertake projects that are relevant to them.
We've designed the codetoday curriculum to ensure all students have a good grasp of the basics but more importantly can actually get coding quickly, create their own programmes and let their creative juices flow through code. All camps start with an introduction to coding in Python, teaching or recapping the basics fundamental to progression. Sessions are then steered dependent on the interests, abilities and ages of the group. We believe coding is a creative tool and as such we encourage the students to share their interests and come up with ways in which they can be explored through code.
What are the basics?
Learning to code is not about learning lots of commands. The key to coding is learning how to think in the structured and logical way required to get a computer to understand you. In our courses we focus on this aspect right from the start. Students who are new to programming start by getting to grips with how to write in Python, the basics of the grammar and punctuation for the language, and the first key tool they learn is loops: getting the computer program to repeat some lines of code. Depending on the students' age and prior experience, we then also proceed to other key topics in programming such as creating our own commands and getting the program to make decisions as the program is running
We believe that the best way to teach the concepts and coding tools is through projects. We have developed projects that are designed to be both very engaging as well as enable students to use their own creativity. Early on, many of these projects are visual in nature. The flower project shown below is one we often use. Students would have just learnt to use loops and can consolidate this through this project (there are many petals and we don't want to have to copy and paste the same lines of code many times, so we use a loop) and it also allows them to be creative by customising their drawing.
Coding does not end when the course ends. We encourage our students to carry on coding at home and we support them in several ways. Firstly, we provide notes and resources to help them remember what they've learnt and consolidate their knowledge. We also provide support for students after the course: they can get in touch with us with ideas they have and we can help them develop them or they can share code they are writing and we can provide feedback and help them deal with errors and bugs. We also provide them with project ideas they can work on after the course.