Pupils coding using the BBC micro:bit

Pupils creating some amazing games on the BBC micro:bit during a Code Created Workshop.

Could your pupils be future programmers and innovators? Teaching children coding is becoming more commonplace in UK schools and, when taught correctly, it can be extremely engaging, teaching computer science, maths, social skills, teamwork, and problem solving in a relatable way.

The thought of teaching your pupils computer programming probably sounds rather daunting. But we are doing it right now, all around the country, with our Code Created Workshops. They’re a fantastic way to introduce computer coding to primary school pupils, and secondary school pupils, and there are additional benefits for SEN pupils, and those with Behavioural or Mental Health Difficulties.

 

What is coding and what does a programmer do?

Children coding using the BBC micro:bit

Children coding using the BBC micro:bit during one of our workshops.

Every app, game, website, and piece of software is created with code. Coding is giving a computer commands to which it responds. Computer programmers use programming “languages” such as JavaScript, C#, and Python to write computer programs (including what we commonly now call “apps”, and games).

Computer code makes everything happen on computers, phones, games consoles, tablets and even daily appliances such as washing machines, as well as embedded systems in cash points, in-car systems, and more. Everywhere you look, code is making our lives happen!

I like to think of a programmer as a bit like a plumber! A plumber will arrive at a job with a big bag of tools and spare parts. Having looked at it for a while, tut tutting, he will open his bag and produce various tools and parts, fit them all together and solve your problem. Programming is just like this. You are given a problem to solve. You have at your disposal a big bag of tricks, in this case a programming language. You look at the problem for a while and work out how to solve it and then fit the bits of the language together to solve the problem you have got. The art of programming is knowing which bits you need to take out of your bag of tricks to solve each part of the problem. – Rob Miles, Department of Computer Science, University of Hull

 

 

Why is it important to teach coding to children?

Almost everything our generation does on a daily basis relies on computer code in some way. From making phone calls, playing games, watching television, posting photos for our friends to see… The list is endless. And growing!

Raising a generation of children who can code will have massive benefits to our future economy. Children are playing video games, using social networks, and texting their friends on a daily basis – understanding how these devices, apps, and services work is not only important to their education, but it’s something that children are genuinely interested in.

Teaching coding puts children in control of the computer and lets them turn into reality the amazing and creative ideas they have, whilst mastering concepts such as logic and consequences. At the same time, skills learnt during programming workshops and coding sessions carry over into other subjects, and likewise the reverse is true. Maths, for example, is critical to programming, and artistic and design skills play a massive part too! Likewise, teamwork, and social skills can be developed through coding – we’ve seen pupils who wouldn’t typically get along, bond over their love of videogames and create some really interesting and creative work!

Can primary school pupils really get to grips with coding?

Working on Pancake Panic with a London school. We then published the work to the app stores so they could all show their family and friends what they'd created once they got home.

Working on Pancake Panic with a London school. We then published the work to the app stores so they could all show their family and friends what they’d created once they got home.

We teach the concepts of coding to children as young as five, exploring the logic behind programming. And, using the right language and approach, actual coding can be accessible to children as young as seven. We have workshops for children aged 5-16.

Our Introduction to Coding Workshop – for the youngest of pupils – uses visual programming languages and tools to allow children to explore coding.

Our Coding Games Workshop teaches real code and, throughout the day, pupils will work on a real game, available on the app stores so they can play their game when they get home!

We have workshops that use the BBC micro:bit, teaching the pupils how to code on an “Internet of Things” device, creating apps and games that run on a small device!

It is vital to engage children at a young age. The skills they can learn through programming not only translate to other areas of the curriculum, but also teaches new ways of thinking and approaching problems. The career opportunities that will open up later in life will be invaluable.

 

What are teachers saying about our workshops?

I teach at a special needs school for boys aged 5 to 19 with SEMH (Social Emotional Mental Health). When looking for ICT workshops, I came across Chaos Created and thought this would be great for our pupils, especially as they are all very familiar with playing computer games!

All students are continuing to play the game they created, and they’re very good at it! I hope from this experience that they will consider game design as a possible career path. It was important to me that they see the process behind the games they play and use their imaginations to create a game themselves.

The students told us that they enjoyed the workshop. I am positive that they will continue to create and develop games of their own. – Angelina Morello, Head of Faculty for Maths and ICT, Nightingale School, Tooting, London

Read more testimonials from teachers.

 

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Want to book a workshop?

Chaos Created Code provides workshops for primary and secondary school pupils, as well as teachers!

We teach the principals of coding and app development, developing ideas into apps, and actual coding techniques. Our workshops are geared for primary and secondary school pupils, and we run workshops for teachers too. Each workshop is led by a professional app and games developer with industry experience!

Give us a call on 0845 299 3874 or drop us an email.

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