School holidays are almost here! 😄 It’s always fun to start thinking about what we can do during our holidays. Why not combine some fun and tech-learning by participating in some techtivities? 

Starting off with November’s #TechFact, did you know that the term “robot” was first popularised by science fiction in 1920? 🤖

When Czech playwright Karel Čapek had an idea for a play with artificial workers, his brother suggested calling them robots, derived from Czech words robotnik and robota, forced worker and forced labour respectively. (Source)

Image for #TechFact (November Techtivities)

Now that we’ve learnt a new titbit, keep scrolling on to discover techtivities that you and your family can indulge in this month! ✨

Can Everyone See My Screen?

Our screens are all we see these days, whether it be for school, work or entertainment. But screens as a canvas? 🤔

“Can Everyone See My Screen?” is an exhibition showcasing artworks which use the screen as portals through which our personal experiences are mediated through technology. Expect to see art installations in the form of interactive arcade machines where you can create your own avatars, live projections of audiences and even a motion sensor-activated tracing system! 🤩

Image of Can Everyone See My Screen for November Techtivities 2022

When: until 11 December 2022
Where: SAM at Tanjong Pagar Distripark, Gallery 2
Price: Free
Learn more here.

Scentopia Self-guided AR Tour

Have some time during the weekend? Try out Scentopia’s self-guided Augmented Reality (AR) tour! It is so intuitive that you just need you and your family, along with a phone and Facebook, to explore whatever you are interested in. 🤳

Smell Sentosa’s coastal rain forest ingredients and learn about Singapore’s floral heritage through this fun tour with over 250 magical AR exhibits to take you to the hidden 4th dimension! You can even stop by at the perfume making area to create your very own scent in the form of perfumes, bath oils, room fragrances, scented candles and more. 🌸

When: Permanent
Where: 36 Siloso Beach Walk, Sentosa, Singapore 099007
Price: Free
Learn more here.

Pinkfong World Adventure

Pinkfong and Baby Shark needs no introduction to our little ones. Here is finally a place where they can immerse themselves in the world of Pinkfong, Baby Shark and Friends! 🦈

Our tots are sure to enjoy becoming the main stars in a Baby Shark music video at the interactive Baby Shark Wall! 🎶 There’s also various interactive games and massive ball pit for them to complete their day of fun.

Image of Pinkfong World Adventure for November Techtivities 2022

When: until 2 January 2023
Where: Let’s Play @ Marina Square, #03-208/209
Price: from $28
Learn more here.

End of Year Holiday Coding Camps

End the year with a bang with our End of Year Holiday Coding Camps! Walk in the footsteps of the tech greats with our MIT-inspired, award-winning curriculum. 

🌟 Ages 5-6: Little ones can take their first step into the world of coding by exploring Scratch Junior, adventuring with Photon the robot and tinkering with circuits. 

🌟Ages 7-9: Discover what makes Scratch programming so popular and how it can relate to Robotics, Augmented Reality, Mathematics and Biology! 

🌟Ages 10-12: Create your first app such as a Robot Shooter game, or even a messaging app like Whatsapp. Begin your journey in Python and develop your own Health Advisor. Find out the immense possibilities that the small but powerful Micro:bit device can achieve through sensors and radio communication. Minecraft enthusiasts can also join our popular Minecraft classes, where you will get to automate complex structures such as buildings and pyramids! 

🌟Ages 13-18: Teens are sure to enjoy our fun and challenging Python modules, where they will create various programs such as a Movie Age Checker and Pong game. Advance your programming skills to try out our various electives, such as Data Analytics and Web Apps! 

Sign up here or feel free to drop us an email, call us or WhatsApp us to get in touch.😊

Banner of 2022 EOY Holiday Camps

When: 21 November to 30 December 2022
Where: Online, Parkway Parade, Bukit Timah (KAP Mall)
Price: From $401.52

Sign up for your Coding Lab class now!

Image for #TechNews (November Techtivities)

Have you ever been served by a robot at a restaurant? 🍲😋 At Dignity Kitchen, a local hawker-cum-training centre, this robot 🤖 is controlled by people with disabilities. 

“We decided to turn to technology to create jobs through innovation,” says the founder. You might be familiar with its other projects, such as delivering food on electric wheelchairs 🦼, robot waiting services, and even urban farming. 🌱

Read more about Dignity Kitchen’s use of tech in enabling workers here.

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out our October #TechtivitiesOfTheMonth, which includes more cool tech-related activities you can do with friends and family!

(Written by Thinzar)

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Today, we will get to know one of our most passionate and dedicated educators, Tan Yin Xuan!

With a love for working and teaching people, Yin Xuan’s foray into the tech industry to empower and educate her students definitely makes for an interesting story! Find out more about why she brings a unique perspective to her classroom!

Hi Yin Xuan, can you tell us more about yourself and your journey into teaching?

I am a graduate from NUS Sociology and I love to playing games or watch shows. I’m currently hooked onto the Animal Crossing video game and I also like to watch K- Dramas. I’m passionate about working with and teaching people, especially the kids! I participated in a community service project where we were mentors for low-income children back in 2019, and felt very inspired and had a great sense of fulfilment whenever my mentee manages to understand my guidance in her schoolwork. From there, I realized that I would love to teach children in the future!

Team Photo - Yin Xuan, Educator
Yin Xuan, our cheery and passionate educator!

Interesting! What made you decide to journey into teaching coding?

I was first exposed to coding at Coding Lab, through Scratch, the visual programming language. I was really amazed at the things we can do with a language meant for beginners and children, from simple things like controlling the actions of the sprite, to difficult challenges like making a game with different levels. From then, I learnt to program on other platforms like App Inventor, Thunkable and Python, and discovered the immense possibilities that you can achieve through coding!

It’s really remarkable that you decided to take up the challenge to learn coding. Why do you think it’s important to do so?

I think the logical way of thinking and problem solving behind coding (computational thinking!) is something that we can use in our daily lives! We often encounter problems in our lives that seem extremely difficult to solve, but coding skills help us to solve them. Back in school, I took a module on computational thinking where we had to make use of computational thinking to solve a real-life problem. Only then did I realise the importance of such skills.

What was your experience like picking up coding?

I was quite excited to be learning something new as I knew that coding is something that is very useful. Initially, I was a little apprehensive but I decided to give it a shot since I had the opportunity (along with great resources) to teach and continue to learn about coding!

With a background in Sociology, do you have a unique perspective that you bring to the classroom?

Sociology is a multifaceted discipline that trains us to think critically about social issues and relations. This has allowed me to view teaching and learning as a dual-way relationship, where teachers are not just simply instructing the students, but that the students also play a role.

“I believe that forming good relationships with them will help them to do well in their coding journey!”

That’s amazing! How has your journey been in Coding Lab as an educator been like?

Yin Xuan doing what she does best, teaching with utmost care and attention!

I have been with Coding Lab since 2020 during the circuit breaker, so my first few months of teaching were all online. Initially, it was definitely challenging having to get used to the Zoom functions, and having to make sure that the students can focus while being at home is definitely an issue. That being said, comparing that to physical classes, teaching online has its perks as well, as some of the students, especially the older ones, who may be shyer in physical classes, are more willing to interact online!

That’s really wonderful to hear! What motivates you to keep teaching?

Everyone working here is really friendly and I’ve met many lovely students and parents over the years! The challenge of learning new things is also something I’ve enjoyed. I love seeing the smiles on the students’ faces whenever they manage to apply what they have learned, such as the Scratch students making their own project that they’re proud of, or having the Python students run their hundred lines of code successfully.

Do you have any stories you would like to share from your classroom?

I had a Scratch 1 student who “complained” from the start that coding was so hard as there were many blocks and sprites to code, but at the end of the day, when she successfully made her “I Can Touch and Count!” project (which was split into two lessons), she was so excited to show everyone her project! When I asked her if she could make something like that again, she happily told me “YES, it was fun” and was eventually able to make something that she was proud of in her Hackathon as well.

“Be friendly with them and joke around with them (but at the same time, establish some rules so that they won’t be out of control)!”

Photo of Yin Xuan with smiling student (Yin Xuan's educator feature)
Educator Yin Xuan putting smiles on her student’s faces

Last but not least, is there any advice you would like to pass on to other aspiring educators?

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! I did not expect myself to be teaching years ago, much less teaching coding, something that seemed extremely foreign just a couple of years ago!

Thank you for sharing your journey with us Yin Xuan. We look forward to seeing you inspire and nurture the future generation into becoming future leaders!

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Today, our Educator and Assistant Curriculum Team Lead, Hovan Tan, will be sharing with us his insights and personal experiences with video games. He’ll also talk about understanding your child’s games, what you should be wary of and how video games are stepping stones to success for your child. Let’s hear from Teacher Hovan! 👇

Video Games. Many of us love and enjoy playing them as a hobby (even as adults), though by default, we try to have our kids spend less time on them despite their pleas to play on. Well, for as long as I can remember, I have always loved and enjoyed playing video games. My father (like all typical dads), felt that video games would distract me and result in poor grades – but this did not deter me from playing and still achieving at school.

Being an avid gamer taught me many skills and lessons. It was the spark that spurred me to take up Computer Engineering at University, and I now get to experience and inspire the joy of coding when I teach my students the code behind some of the games they play, such as Minecraft, Brawl Stars and Zooba.

Indeed, I learned a lot from playing Video Games. Let’s start by taking a look at some of the popular categories of games:

1. Types of Video Games (and what we can learn from them)

  • Multiplayer Online Battle Arena (MOBA) games: League of Legends, Dota2, Mobile Legends, and Pokemon Unite, are examples of strategy role-playing games where two teams compete against each other.
  • First-Person Shooter (FPS) games: Typically use weapons and feature a first-person perspective. Examples include Call of Duty, Valorant, Counter-Strike, and Fortnite.
  • Strategy games: Include Age of Empires, the Total War series, Civilization, and any simulation games even on mobile.

There are many more types of video games out there, but the skills and benefits of each type will differ. MOBA and FPS games challenge the player’s situational awareness (where positions matter a lot), reaction speed to visual and auditory cues, and requires accuracy and multitasking. It also trains one’s visuomotor control and attention skills, so players of such games are more mindful of their surroundings, adaptable and great problem-solvers. When it comes to academia, students will be better equipped to face tougher problems and figure out solutions in stressful scenarios.

One example of an MOBA game is Pokemon Unite 👉

Image of Pokemon Unite for Video Games as Stepping Stones to Success

Image of Civilisation for Video Games as Stepping Stones to Success
Civilisation, an example of a Strategy game

Strategy games allow players to work on their critical thinking skills, as they manage teams, units or buildings. This can easily be viewed as a leadership role, where the players delegate and plan for the best outcomes.

Children will be able to improve their decision-making thought processes and learn to become better leaders in the future, with management experience under their belt. They will also be able to multitask effectively, which is a good skill as they juggle different curriculum in school and different challenges in their daily lives.

There are so many other skills and lessons that your children can learn from playing video games. We’ve also picked out the main lessons from gaming in a previous blog here.

Video games also provide you with opportunities to bond and interact with your children. This will help you to identify learning points in their gaming experiences, such as how to interact with other online users or how to win humbly and lose graciously. You could also get ideas for alternative activities that could interest them!

2. What dangers are present in online games?

That being said, we must tread the online domain with great care, especially when it comes to protecting our littles.

With the internet and online games today, one can easily communicate with almost anyone in the world from anywhere and at any time, opening up a world of possibilities and dangers too. For example, Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) have large communities and social interactions within the game. Having the ability to find people from around the world and chat with them allows friendships to be born and gives players a sense of belonging.

At the same time, we have to be concerned about safety, cyberbullying, security and privacy threats from online predators. For example, Roblox, one of the most popular children’s games in the world right now, is struggling to moderate content and create parental controls to protect children from being maliciously exposed to inappropriate content. 

Online fraud and scams are rampant in our technological world too, and there is also the allure of freemium and gambling games. These instant gratification games are addictive and younger children may not understand the nature of these purchases.

To keep up with this ever-changing fast-paced online world, we will have to learn how to protect ourselves and our loved ones from online dangers.

3. How can you keep your children safe and protected as they play video games?

Video games can provide you with opportunities to bond and interact with your children. This will help you to identify learning points in their gaming experiences, such as how to interact with other online users or how to win humbly and lose graciously. You could also get ideas for alternative activities that could interest them!

I highly recommend for you to do research into the games, and check on their available parental controls before allowing your child access to them. (There’s a reason we do not teach Roblox coding here at Coding Lab, despite the multitude of requests that come in!) You must be able to identify potential risks involved and work with your child to educate, learn, and mitigate any online threats (Yes, we approve of Minecraft!).

Here’s a good checklist to use to keep our children safe on the Internet 👇 (Source)

Image of checklist for Video Games as Stepping Stones to Success

Video Games – A Stepping Stones to Success?

As gamers, we should take the effort to understand how games are crafted. Behind each game lies a developer, a studio, perhaps even a multi-million dollar company leading the development of that successful game. Through blood, sweat, tears, and lots of time, these games were painstakingly created. This is a lesson by itself that I incorporate into my teaching and instill in the younger generation.

Creative learning utilises our vivid imagination and critical thinking skills to come up with ideas and solutions. This is especially evident in our classes when we have Hackathon sessions – based on the games they love to play, students are able to think about different aspects required for the program they want to create. I’ve had students program mini games ranging from themes like Minecraft to Zooba.

Just like our mini coding hackathons, a tremendous amount of thinking and planning has gone into creating the games we love to play, and I am heartened to see my students incorporate such extensive thinking and hard work when creating their own projects!

Image of Game Development for Video Games as Stepping Stones to Success
Here I am with my App Inventor students!

In hindsight, being an avid gamer taught me many skills and lessons. It was the spark that spurred me to take up Computer Engineering, and I now get to experience and inspire the joy of gaming when I teach my students to code.

Whether my students decide to do computer science or not in the future, learning to code in itself feels like a game with its own benefits, skills and lessons too. With colourful, drag-and-drop programming blocks like Scratch and MIT App Inventor platforms, the learning experience is now gamified. Each lesson feels like a game for my students and I, and I always think about how my journey with video games has come full circle.

As people’s perceptions of gaming change and our online world grows, playing video games is both a boon and a bane. It is up to us to be there to guide our children and keep them safe when they step into the digital age.

Do your children enjoy playing games? Give our award-winning, MIT-inspired coding classes a shot! Your children will get to dive into the world behind games and technology as they learn computational thinking and more core skills of the 21st century.

(Written by Hovan Tan, Edited by Cheryl Tang)

Read: 6 valuable lessons video games can teach your child

Coding Lab Educator Feature: Interview with Hovan Tan

Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

We are honoured to be the winner of multiple awards.
Thank You for your support.

Hop on board the Coding Lab train! Click here to get our monthly newsletters straight to your inbox.

Ages 5-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

Call us at +65 6977 9641
Email us at [email protected]
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger