Little Steps Asia Feature: Mompreneurs Who Rock Singapore – Influencers In The City

Parenting can be hectic, especially when you have to juggle work too. But can you imagine running your own business on top of that? Our very own Director, Candice Wang, was featured in Mompreneurs Who Rock Singapore – Influencers In The City, an article by Little Steps Asia. It is a parenting blog with a readership of over 1 million parents across Asia!

Want to know how Candice stays on top of her busy schedule? Or how she keeps her children engaged with STEM? Head over to the article to find out about Candice and perhaps get some tips too!

“We saw the importance of automation and applying coding to make processes efficient and decided that we needed to take the step to help our kids and other kids benefit.”

– Candice Wang, Director, Coding Lab
Screenshot of Little Steps Asia 2021 - Mompreneurs Who Rock Singapore Feature
A snippet of the Little Steps Asia article “Mompreneurs Who Rock Singapore Feature”

Read the full article here!

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April might be approaching, along with everyone’s beloved April Fools’ Day – but none of these activities are a joke! Ever heard of local STEM comics #MadeInSG? Or maybe you want to do a little cultural exploring? Well, read on to find out more!

STEM Stories with Piqolo Kids

Join Peppy and Lili’s adventures as they journey through Earth! Piqolo Kids comics are the perfect way to introduce STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) to young ones aged 6 to 8. Get your hands on their first volume, with Wild Singapore as the backdrop, and make exploring even more fun with a special 10% discount for our Coding Lab students! Simply use the promo code CodingLab10.

Coding Lab x Piqolo Kids 10% Discount - Wild Singapore Volume 1

Date: 1 April 2021 to 31 May 2021
Price: $7.20 (after discount, incl. shipping)
Includes: Activity book, character cards, sticker and translation sheet
To purchase, click here.
To find out more and access FREE activity sheets, click here.

Pokémon Go Cultural Walking Tour

Who said that gaming can’t be educational? In this tour of Kampong Glam, Haji Lane and Little India, you can learn so much more about the stories behind the different Pokéstops! Meet up with your guide and get your Pokémon Go Augmented Reality app ready to explore colourful streets, ripe for your Instagram feed. As you search for your elusive Pokémons and engage in virtual raids, don’t forget to look up at the beautiful artwork and shophouses!

Date: April 2021
Location: Meet at Bugis MRT station
Price: $100*
*Can use SingaporeRediscover vouchers
To sign up for a spot or to learn more, click here.

Learn Beautifully At Home + Coding Class

Designed at the world-renowned MIT, Learning Beautiful’s Learning at Home Set is perfect for hands-on play for the little ones ages 3 to 9. With binary trees, pixel boards, and more, your children can surely spend hours getting to know the basics of computer science – entirely without screens! To sweeten the deal, with every purchase of a set, you’re entitled to a FREE Junior Coders Programme class! Get ready to launch your child’s journey into the world of programming.

Learning Beautiful Singapore - Learning at Home Set

Date: Promotion available until 31 April 2021
Price: $295 (incl. shipping)
To purchase a set, click here.
To find out more, head over here.

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out our March #TechtivitiesOfTheMonth, which includes more cool tech-related attractions that you can visit!

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Thank you China Global Television Network (CGTN) for including Coding Lab in the feature on females in STEM courses! In light of International Women’s Day, CGTN covered the uptick in women pursuing STEM courses.

CGTN Feature - Co-Founder of Coding Lab, Candice, being interviewed at our Bukit Timah (KAP Mall) Campus
Our Director, Candice Wang, is also a proud mother in the STEM field whose daughter attends weekly classes at Coding Lab.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), which were traditionally seen as fields dominated by men. In Singapore and at Coding Lab, we’re proud that our parents and educators are encouraging their daughters to pursue STEM fields.

Read our previous CGTN feature here.

“We do increasingly see more and more girls. Some of our best students are girls, actually. We used to have all boys classes, but now you see at least three to four girls in every class, so I would say about a 30 percent increase.”

Candice Wang, Director of Coding Lab

CGTN Feature - Kameswaran Mekala Kalai Aathiraa, our student, being interviewed at our Bukit Timah (KAP Mall) Campus Room 4
Catch our featured student, Aathiraa (10 years old), from our YCS class, on CGTN

Coding Lab has always been proud of encouraging all of our students to strive for the best in the programming field, regardless of gender, and we are grateful to have been recognised for it. We have always aimed to provide a welcoming learning environment for every student, through displaying a good mix of projects by boys and girls, and teaching with examples relevant to both genders.

The Straits Times Feature: Addressing the Gender Gap in the STEM Sector

CGTN Feature - Our female educator Salena and female student in class at Bukit Timah (KAP Mall) Campus
Our female educator Salena teaching a female student at our Bukit Timah Campus

“Coding is important. One of the most important things in your future and in our present too.”

Kameswaran Mekala Kalai Aathiraa, 10 years old, Young Computer Scientists

Catch our female educators and students programming at our Bukit Timah campus here!

Read: STEAM is the new STEM

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March is one of our most anticipated months of the year, because – you’ve guessed it – March holidays are coming! And just because we can’t go overseas doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything exciting going on. From creating your own Star Wars character to exploring digital exhibitions from the comfort of your home, there certainly is March to do.

Star Wars Identities: The Exhibition

Since 1997, Star Wars has occupied the imaginations of science-fiction fans, going on to become one of the most iconic movie franchises ever! Inspiring many futuristic technologies, you now get the chance to see spacecrafts and holograms up close. With close to 200 original props, costumes, models and artwork from the film, head over to the ArtScience Museum to immerse yourself in the Star Wars world. May the Force be with you!

Exhibition is ongoing, lasts till 13 June 2021
Location: ArtsScience Museum
Prices: From $20
*Can use SingaporeRediscover vouchers
To register or for more information, click here.

Aliwal Tracks

Are you feeling a little lazy? Want to do something from the comfort of your couch? Aliwal Tracks is the perfect virtual exhibition for you! Wander the streets of Kampung Gelam (Kampong Glam) with this web series of digital performances, behind-the-scenes footage and explore hidden street art!

Price: Free
Location: Online
Date: Till 5 March
For more information, click here.

Got To Move

Here’s a riddle for you: What do Augmented Reality, dance and Instagram have in common? Well, this year’s Got To Move (GTM) event has really outdone itself! GTM is a nationwide dance movement that celebrates the diversity of dance in Singapore. In its sixth edition, it’s getting bigger and going digital, from creating Instagram dance filters, to putting up live performances on AR app, XITY!

Location: Online
Date: Ongoing till 28 March 2021
The AR app XITY is downloadable on both Android and Apple devices.
To find out more, click here.

March Holiday Camp

March into our exciting holiday camps and have tons of fun learning how to code! We’ve got a wide variety of classes (38, to be exact!) specially designed to build a strong programming foundation for ages 4 to 18. 😉⁣⁣

15 March – 9 April 2021
Parkway Parade, Bukit Timah (KAP Mall) and Online
To find out more, click here.

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out our February #TechtivitiesOfTheMonth, which includes more cool tech-related attractions that you can visit!

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

Ages 4-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

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Today, we get to know our educator, Edmund! He is a common sight in many of our Python classes, and it’s hard to miss his hearty laughter when you’re on our campus. Armed with a Masters in Mathematics, Edmund is always jovial and ready to lend a helping hand to his students.

Hi Edmund, what was your first encounter with coding like?

I would say that my very first experience with coding was during my tertiary days when I went to find out how to create a game similar to MapleStory with added features like PVP (player versus player) to play with my friends.

Cool! Did this inspire you to take Mathematics in university?

Since young, I have always loved solving challenging problems and I wanted to know more behind mathematical concepts. I competed frequently in Primary and Secondary school at the Australian Mathematics Competition (AMC), International Competitions and Assessments for Schools (ICAS) as well as the National Mathematical Olympiad of Singapore ( NMO∑) where I scored Distinctions and won various awards for my school. Thus, it was only natural that I went on to complete a Masters programme in Mathematics. My Math background led to a strong understanding of Computer Science as I was exposed to programming languages such as MATLAB and R. The training I underwent enabled me to fully understand the reasoning and process of mathematical concepts. With that, I am able to explain to my students exactly what we are coding when I teach.

Edmund Feature 2
Edmund, always cheerful!

Wow! Okay, so are there any differences or similarities between the studies of Mathematics and Computer Science?

Coding is very similar to Mathematics where we make use of our problem-solving and logical skills. The thinking processes for both are very similar. The thinking and algorithmic logic is more important than which programming language we choose to use when coding (there are many that go in and out of fashion). Also, coding problems often require the usage of math. For instance, to code up a function that calculates x and y coordinates of a point might require mathematical concepts such as the Pythagoras Theorem. Many students we put up for the National Olympiad in Informatics also have very strong background in Math Olympiad. The two are indeed deeply connected.

So how did you go from Mathematics to teaching coding?

I always enjoyed teaching and instructing. During my National Service, I was an instructor for the National Civil Defence Cadet Corps (NCDCC). I taught my recruits lifesaving skills, brought them through foot drills and exposed them to outdoor adventure activities. It was a great motivation to see my cadets’ faces light up with joy and pride when they graduated from a course or successfully completed an activity. Even before my National Service, I was an assistant teacher for an enrichment programme provider which held quality programmes and holiday camps for preschools to secondary levels. So, I guess it was quite natural for me to move towards a career in teaching.

I heard that you taught yourself Python, which is pretty impressive! Could you take us through what that was like?

I learnt Python with the help of online platforms like YouTube! I was interested to know more about programming languages and researched online. I found out that Python was one of the most widely used languages. Then, I spent many hours watching tutorials, some videos were even 13 – 17 hours long, where I had to watch them at 2x speed. 🙂 It also helped that Coding Lab has very comprehensive teaching materials for Educators to grasp, practice and stay abreast of the latest curriculum and the community we build with other fellow tutors and students is a warm, close-knit one. I’m glad that I could easily depend on my teammates to help out if I needed anything!

Coding excites me, especially when I have spent a long time trying to debug a program and it finally works. This satisfaction is what I seek to inspire in my students for them to excel in coding!

What do you like best about teaching coding?

The best part about teaching coding is that I am able to continue learning even while I am teaching. You will be amazed at how creative and innovative the students can be with their ideas and the way they code. Some of them even have ideas that I would never have thought of!

What’s your teaching style like?

I try my best to always make my lesson fun and enjoyable. For instance, I’ll relate the lesson to topics that the students are into, making it more interactive. Sometimes I even use terms and references from games they play, or popular and trending videos they are likely to watch!

What did you think was so important about coding that you decided to join this industry?

I personally think that kids should learn how to code as technology is always advancing. Understanding how the computers work and learning coding helps the kids appreciate how things work and the ability to solve problems is a life skill that will stay with them!

We all know that motivating children can be tough, so how do you do it?

I believe that encouragement motivates people. A little goes a long way and every small encouragement will make the student feel more motivated to continue coding. I set goals for my students and support them in meeting those goals and even challenge them to go even further.

What is your most memorable teaching experience thus far?

My best teaching experience at Coding Lab so far would be one class where my students were all fans of the online comedian character, Uncle Roger, who makes parodies of cooking shows. We had programs done by the students under humorous names like “Egg Fried Rice”. They even compared me, “Uncle Edmund”, to “Uncle Roger”! It was a lot of fun and laughter while still being able to teach the skills and know-how of Python.

Photo of ACS Class
Edmund with his curious Advanced Computer Scientists students

Do you intend to continue teaching coding in the future?

Definitely! In fact, ever since I started coding and teaching it, I have a slight regret of not taking more modules in Computer Science during my Masters. I’m glad to be at Coding Lab, where I have the opportunity to pick up as much coding as I want and even impart this to many others. Coding excites me, especially when I have spent a long time trying to debug a program and it finally works. This satisfaction is what I seek to inspire in my students for them to excel in coding!

Finally, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I am still a volunteer with the NCDCC. It was through this organisation that I had the opportunities to learn so many skills (lifesaving, rescue, outdoor adventure, etc). I’ve had many memorable experiences in the Corps. I once mentored a cadet who almost went astray due to family issues and bad company. He felt unappreciated back home and felt that he was being forced to attend the course that he had no interest in. I told him that if he wants others to appreciate him, he should first learn to appreciate himself. “Don’t try to change others, change yourself,” I said. When he graduated from secondary school, he even came back as a Cadet Lieutenant volunteer. On the day of his passing out parade, he asked me to be the one to help put his rank on for him. The moment I buttoned his rank on, I was overjoyed! NCDCC is my way of giving back to the society, by teaching, training and being a role model for the future generation 🙂

Thank you, Edmund, for taking the time to share your journey with us! We hope you continue to inspire our future generation of coders and be the role model that you already are, as a teacher, mentor, and more!

Unravelling The Mystery Continued: Behind Our Room Name – Van Rossum

Do you remember our Unravelling The Mystery series? We found out the naming inspirations for our rooms at Parkway Parade and King Albert Park (KAP). Up next is our newest addition to the Bukit Timah campus, the Van Rossum room at KAP Mall #02-05!

Room 4. Van Rossum

Van Rossum Room
Van Rossum Room

So, who is Guido Van Rossum?

Our spacious new room is named after Guido Van Rossum (born 31 January 1956). Van Rossum is a Dutch programmer widely credited with the creation and development of Python, beginning in 1989 in the Netherlands [1]. If you have heard of Python, one of the world’s most popular and fastest-growing programming languages [2], then you should know who Van Rossum is!

Van Rossum wanted a programming language centred around the computer scientist, not the machine.
(Photo from Van Rossum’s Github)

Van Rossum first created Python while working on other projects, including a failed language called ABC. Through that experience, he observed that he needed a computer language that had more readability, while retaining the features of shell scripts and C, another programming language [3].

The logo of Python

Thus, Python was born, and it was a simple language which stripped away any extraneous code, making it more enjoyable for amateurs and beginners to code! Van Rossum also made Python open-source, which means it does not have a proprietary license that controls who uses it. This allows its group of learners to grow year on year. In fact, in 2015, Python overtook French to be the most popular language taught in primary schools in England [4]!

“For someone who is not yet a programmer, who wants to become a programmer, for those people, Python is particularly easy to get.” [5]

Did you know? The name of the language, ‘Python’, did not originate from the snake! Fans of the British comedy series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, aired on BBC during the 1970s, will be pleased to know that it was the inspiration. That’s right! Van Rossum was a huge fan of the show and it entertained him as he developed the programming language, and he chose “Python” because it was short, mysterious and catchy [6].

So, what is Van Rossum up to now? Van Rossum then went on to become a Principle Engineer at Dropbox for almost seven years, before retiring shortly. He is now part of the Microsoft Developer division [7].

Our Van Rossum room is filled with awe-inspiring quotes from other greats. The room is not only for teaching Python, but all of our classes for ages 4 to 18. If the story of Van Rossum piques your interest in coding, sign up for our classes by clicking here.

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