NEW: A special page just for TEACHERS: teachers' page
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Coding For All
I was so proud to be asked to showcase the apps from the Coding Club series at the #include launch party in London recently.
#include: "Our aim is to increase the diversity of the students studying Computer Science, to challenge the stereotypes and to create accessible opportunities for all students to experience the subject first hand." How cool is that?
I believe that everyone is unique and as a consequence, different things appeal to different people no matter what group they belong to. This is why the Coding Club books available, and those currently in the pipeline, feature games, calculators, an etch-a-sketch app, interactive storytelling and art apps. The hope is that everyone will find something they are naturally interested in and hopefully also find new interests while at the same time learning to code well.
It really worries me that youngsters worry so much about fitting in with stereotypes, that they limit their own freedom to be interested and enjoy anything. Why shouldn't a guy in the school football team also enjoy and pursue a ballroom dancing interest without worrying what his friends will think? Why do some girly girls who also enjoy programming worry that their friends won't understand them?
It is great when I hear about people breaking these moulds, such as will.i.am taking up coding. It is people like Will who help free kids to try whatever interests them. There are many things that imprison us: our fear of the unknown, poverty, lack of a safe home, but worrying about peer pressure and stereotypes shouldn't be one of them. And to quote Kate Russell, from the BBC's flagship technology program Click: "Why wouldn't anyone want to learn programming?"
This is the web site that supports the Coding Club series of books. These are aimed at anyone who can type and wants to learn to program. Unlike most computer books, these are quite short books. Each has a project that practises what has been learnt. The books emphasise why the code is written the way it is and how to design Apps. All this while being fun and interesting too!
Each book is graded just like a reading scheme. The first book is required but then there is a choice - pick a book that interests you from the level that interests you:
Level 1 books use:
>>> while loops
>>> a tiny bit of tkinter to enable windowed apps.
Level 2 books add:
>>> container data-types (tuples, lists and dictionaries)
>>> for loops
>>> more tkinter to enable windowed apps
>>> there is often some optional theory included for those who are interested. (e.g. binary)
Level 3 books add:
>>> classes and objects
>>> the idea of algorithms (readers are not expected to come up with their own)
>>> the idea of breaking large projects into manageable parts
>>> designing code for re-use.
"Why download games off the internet when you can make your very own versions and control exactly how they work and look!"
The Coding Club series of books can be used with any computer. There are versions for Mac, Linux and Windows. What if you cannot get on a computer easily? The answer to this is, surprisingly, just go and buy your own for about £30 from the RaspberryPi foundation!