Meet Christian. At only 12 years old, he has already breezed through our roadmap and attended our Python Perfect classes (which we recommend to 13-year-olds and above), where he coded an impressive Pokémon game on his own.

His story has been featured on the Tiny Thinkers blog before, which covered how the special needs child was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and gradually found his passion for programming. We talk to the young boy, who is part of Eunos Primary School’s Robotics Club and aspires to be a professional coder, as he continues his coding journey with us.

Christian's parents kick-started his interest in programming when they bought him a book titled "Adventures in Minecraft".
Christian’s parents kick-started his interest in programming when they bought him a book titled “Adventures in Minecraft”.

Hi Christian! Could you tell us about your program? 

Christian: I started it in class after I finished my Python assignment from the teacher. I would continue to work on it as a reward whenever I finished my in-class assignments early! The program is like playing the Pokémon game without the graphics, so it’s all text-based in Python.

What gave you the idea for the program?

Christian: Everyone else seemed to be coding something practical, I suppose maybe because they were older. I didn’t really know what practical stuff I could code, so I decided to do a simple Pokémon program because I was playing it quite a bit on my Nintendo Switch.

Christian-Codes-finally

What were some difficulties you faced when developing this program? 

Christian: I ran into a lot, of course. There was one when I asked to view the Pokémon in my party, and all the letters would split up. It took me a while to realise that I was missing a function. Generally, attending classes helped me to solve what I needed to know but the Coding Lab teachers also taught me what I didn’t know codes could do. They also gave me hints on what could have gone wrong with my codes, suggested more efficient ones, and even gave me ideas on how to improve my program.

Start small, start with something you like. Keep going and don’t give up!

Do you have any future plans for your program?

Christian: Currently, I am preparing for the dreaded PSLE. But I’m looking to add more features to my game, and to modify it to a more MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) style that I enjoy playing. It’s still not completed yet, so I just want to finish it and run it. Hopefully, after I finish my program, I can get some beta testers who can give me suggestions on how to improve.

Christian, 12, spends most of his free time on the computer or reading on Kindle.
Christian, 12, spends most of his free time on the computer or reading on Kindle.

What advice would you give to young coders who are new to coding?

Christian: Start small, start with something you like. Keep going and don’t give up!

Christian, 12, is a student at Eunos Primary School taking his PSLE this year. He started off with our Scratch holiday workshop course in 2018 and has since completed our ScratchMIT App Inventor and Python classes.

He aspires to be a professional coder in the gaming industry and to work at Google someday. It is evident that Christian loves coding, and it is one of his many strengths. We’re sure that he will do great, and we look forward to seeing his future programs! 

#CodingInRealLife: 3 Cool Things You Can Use Coding For

Programs, apps, games… it seems like coding is all so digital, isn’t it?

Sometimes you just want to code something tangible – something you can see or feel, or even taste. Here are three real-world items that use code (and if you experiment with these items, you can program it too), which gives you an idea of how you can experiment and program things too.

1. DIY Light-Up Shoes

CODING LAB - DIY LED Shoes

Do your own thing with your shoes! You can have modified, custom light-up Vans or Adidas shoes with strobe lighting, lights that ‘blink’ with each step or maybe even lit up with your own words. There’s no bigger flex than saying “I did this myself” when you’re complimented on your one-of-a-kind shoes. All you need are LED strips (make sure they’re waterproof!) and curiosity… and any additional items, depending on what your end goal is.

Would you believe that coding is actually used in such projects? Why not kick it up a notch? Code it on your own, and you could be posting your very own codes online for others!

 

2. Self-Watering Plants

CODING LAB - Plant

We all know that tech can improve our lives. Why not take it a step further to simplify gardening? But be warned, you need plenty of research beforehand! What are the ideal conditions for seeds to germinate? When does the plant need more water and how will this happen? How much water is sufficient? These are just some questions you have to think about.

Alternatively, you can buy one yourself. Click and Grow makes Smart Gardens for your own indoor herb gardens. As they say, “Grow anything with zero effort”! It comes with self-timers for the lights and you only need to refill the water tank every two to three weeks, depending on the plants you grow.

 

3. Robotic Woks 

CODING LAB - Robot Wok

Is it 3020 already? It’s futuristic to imagine having robot chefs whipping up consistent meals for us… but this is already a reality – here in Singapore. At Resorts World Sentosa’s Ruyi, under Tunglok Group, fried rice is being whipped up by a robotic wok.

Can’t cook? If you’re considering to purchase a robo chef for yourself, MIK Corporation from Japan sells a diverse range of it – from making your own sushi to fried rice too. Of course, it comes with a hefty price tag… unless you can code your own wok!

 

Want to get your minds away from the books? Or simply want to discover the wonders of science?

The Coding Lab team has found some fun tech-tivities – programmes and exhibitions in February – suitable for families with children and teens at the ArtScience Museum!

Disney: Magic of Animation 

If you are an avid Disney fan like us who cannot stop singing “Into the Unknown” (from Frozen 2 in 2019) or even the classic “When You Wish Upon A Star” (from Pinocchio in 1940), this is for you. From famous characters like Mickey Mouse to old-time favourite movies like The Lion King (1994) to Moana (2016), delve into behind-the-scenes of the renowned Walt Disney Animation Studios and be amazed at the capabilities and advancements of animation.

This family-friendly techtivity will get your child excited and intrigued as it showcases brilliant motion effects, graphics and sounds from our favourite Disney movies.

disney magic of animation

Details:
26 October 2019 – 29 March 2020
ArtScience Museum
Tickets from $12

English Guided Tours:
Friday 7 & 21 Feb | 3.00pm – 4.00pm
Saturday 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 Feb | 11.30am – 12.30pm
Sunday 2, 9, 16 & 23 Feb | 11.30am – 12.30pm

For more details, click here.


2219: Futures Imagined

To those who fancy a more contemplative atmosphere, this exhibition gets you to picture what the future holds and reflect on the kind of future that you want for Singapore. It is organised into 5 Acts – Act 1: Arrival, Act 2: Home, Act 3: Underworld, Act 4: Adaptation & Act 5: Memory – all of which showcase the types of futures and contemporary issues we may possibly face. Step into and be a part of a series of immersive installations, meditative spaces and films and envision how our everyday lives would be, 200 years from now.

artscience museum

Details:
23 November 2019 – 5 April 2020
ArtScience Museum
Tickets from $12

English Guided Tours:
Friday 14 & 28 Feb | 3.00pm – 4.00pm
Saturday 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29 Feb | 4.00pm – 5.00pm
Sunday 2, 9, 16, & 23 Feb | 4.00pm – 5.00pm

Advisory: Some mature content (more suitable for teens/adults) 

For more information on this exhibition, click here.


Who said that Valentine’s Day is only for couples? We also have a Valentine’s Day workshop for some parent-child bonding in February. Enable your child to continue learning about animation through Scratch, offered in our weekly classes! If you are a teen, aspire to be a change-maker by learning app development or Python.

If you haven’t checked out our January techtivity at Gardens by the Bay, it’s still open (until 15 March)!

Game Master. App Guru. Math Whiz. Storyteller. What kind of a coder are you?

FINAL FB_What Kind Of A Coder Are You

Let our exciting quiz, specially designed to help you uncover your talent, lead you to discover the path that you were destined for!

Discover your coder personality here… 

Take our quiz!

The annual Direct School Admissions (DSA) exercise is approaching. If your child is Primary 6 this year, why not tap on his talents and achievements to seek early admission into the secondary school of his choice?

With the recent emphasis on the importance of learning coding in schools, many secondary schools now offer DSA via coding and/or info-communications which fall under the Applied Science, Engineering and Technology category. 

a. List of schools that offer coding 

There are 32 schools currently offering a range of areas for DSA such as coding, robotics, science and technology, computational thinking and computer programming. We have collated a full list of schools below for your easy reference.

DSA-SEC EXERCISE

b. Our DSA Consultation Package 

If you need assistance in selecting the best school for your child or just want to beef up his portfolio, Coding Lab is here for you. We are an appointed vendor for IMDA and our experience of teaching in schools enables us to have a deep understanding of the DSA process.

We offer an exclusive DSA consultation package that is personalised according to your child’s needs. The package includes:

  •  1-1 consultation sessions
  • Shortlisting of target school
  • Refined achievement plan
  • Interview preparation

c. Advanced Computer Scientists Classes

To better equip your child with the necessary skills, students must have completed at least 6 research areas under our Advanced Computer Scientists classes first before applying for our DSA programme. Through the lessons, he will acquire advanced problem-solving skills in 3 categories namely Micro:bit, Python and App Development and obtain practical skills by creating his own apps and projects. This will allow your child’s portfolio to stand out among the rest. 

Coding Lab strives to help your child gain entry into his dream school. We will do our best to prepare him/her with a comprehensive portfolio and boost his/her interview skills, all which will be useful in the long run. You may fill out this form if you are interested to find out more about our DSA programme.

To apply for the DSA-Sec exercise, submit your application to the DSA online portal. Application is free of charge and will be open from early May 2020. For more details, please refer to the MOE website: www.moe.gov.sg/admissions/direct-admissions/dsa-sec

Come join in the fun and enter the world of science and technology this month with your children!

The Coding Lab team has selected their favourite programme and exhibition in the month of January for families. Curiosity and wonder never stops! 

Gardens by the Bay – #FutureTogether 

In conjunction with the Singapore Bicentennial, digital art and light shows will be showcased at various locations, allowing families and children to reimagine time and space through mesmerising animation and meticulous artworks. 

future together

Details:
16 Jan 2020 – 15 March 2020
Gardens by the Bay
Indoor Artworks: $10 / Free for Singaporeans
Outdoor Artworks: 7pm to midnight

For more details, click here.

With these fun events coming your way, you and your child will never be bored of learning! If you think your child can be the next tech genius, why not sign up for our weekly classes on our website too?

Meet Alicia. At 16 years old and with just two years of coding, she came up with the novel idea of a program that would allow drivers to check the availability of public carparks – and breathed life into it in just two hours during her Data Analytics class. We finally got to catch up with our student, who took the time during her ski trip to Italy to respond to our questions.

Hi Alicia! Could you tell us about what your program does?

Alicia: It aims to help drivers check the availability of Singapore’s public carparks – all in real-time. The program allows the user to input the carpark number that they wish to park at. In response, the program will inform users of the number of lots available at the specified carpark. As such, the driver will be able to head to another carpark if that carpark was full, saving time and fuel.

Codes-border

What gave you the idea for the program? 

Alicia: I remembered that there were several incidents where my parents encountered difficulties finding a carpark during peak hours and we wasted a lot of time driving around the area searching for an available carpark. It came to my mind that the data analysis program can be useful and convenient for carpark users to check real-time carpark availability beforehand. 

What were some considerations you had to factor in when making the program? 

Alicia: I considered my limited coding knowledge and decided to create a simple yet useful program. The program’s only function was to check for the carpark availability of the public carparks in Singapore which made it convenient and time-saving for the user. I hope to turn this simple program into an app that I can manage and upgrade in future, with more navigation functionalities.

“Don’t rush yourself to attain results and instead enjoy the process of learning!”

What were some challenges you faced when developing the program? 

Alicia: One of the challenges that I faced was processing the carpark availability data from the Singapore Government Data website. I had to manually go through the massive data and extract the carpark number and carpark availability by trial-and-error. Luckily, my Coding Lab mentor, Ms Mona Tan, was very patient and helpful. Whenever I faced problems in running the program, she will give me some pointers to guide me through my thought process.

Alicia, 16, a Nanyang Girls' High School student, picked up coding as she was inspired by the changes and solutions that arose from Artificial Intelligence and coding.
Alicia, 16, a Nanyang Girls’ High School student, picked up coding as she was inspired by the changes and solutions that arose from Artificial Intelligence and coding.

What advice would you give to young coders who are new to coding? 

Alicia: Don’t be too ambitious when you have just started to code! It is important to have a final goal in mind when it comes to a project, however, it’s important to take it step by step to reach your final goal, instead of rushing towards your final aim. As you get more familiar with the programming language and more experienced in coding, you will be able to constantly upgrade your project, reaching your final goal eventually. Don’t rush yourself to attain results and instead enjoy the process of learning!

Alicia, 16, is a student at Nanyang Girls’ High School. She started off with our basic Python (S101) course in 2017 and has since progressed to S201 Data Analytics and C++ programming, where she participated in the National Olympiad in Informatics 2019.

She has also taken on various projects to simplify sales analysis and performance reports at her uncle’s organisation, and has plans to create an app to showcase his products. She is currently in the Nanyang Science Mentorship Programme with I2RASTAR, where she regularly applies the MATLAB and Machine Learning techniques she has garnered.

Did you catch Tiny Thinkers at the National Library Board’s (NLB) kidsREAD 15th Anniversary Carnival?

Thinzar, the President of Tiny Thinkers, explaining the Junior Computational Thinking kits to the children at booth.
Thinzar, the President of Tiny Thinkers, explaining the Junior Computational Thinking kits to children at the booth.

On 9th November, Tiny Thinkers was invited to celebrate the 15th anniversary of NLB’s kidsREAD programme. Tiny Thinkers had a booth for children to kickstart their Computational Thinking journey with our Junior Computational Thinking kit. The kit, developed by Tiny Thinkers and supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), allows children to plan a character’s story and also included hands-on activities for parents to complete with their children at home.

President Halimah Yacob with (from left) Ms Low Tze Hui, Manager of Infocomm Media Development Authority and her son, Thinzar, President of Tiny Thinkers, Candice, Co-Founder of Coding Lab,
Our Tiny Thinkers team (in orange), Coding Lab Co-Founder Candice (third from left), and Amazon Web Services volunteers (in blue) taking a photo with President Halimah Yacob and Ms Low Tze Hui (far left), Manager, Infocomm Media Development Authority, and her son, Luke.

Thank you to President Halimah Yacob, Mr S Iswaran (Minister for Communications and Information), and Ms Low Tze Hui, for stopping by our booth to find out more about Tiny Thinkers and our goals for the children of Singapore!

Luke showing President Halimah Yacob what he learned from the Tiny Thinkers Junior Computational Thinking kit. (Source: President Halimah's Facebook page)
Luke even had the opportunity to show President Halimah Yacob what he learned from the Tiny Thinkers Junior Computational Thinking kit. (Source: President Halimah Yacob’s Facebook, MCI Photo by Lee Jia Wen)

Tiny Thinkers is proud to have been able to collaborate with NLB to reach out to more parents about the importance of Computational Thinking in today’s digital economy. This is especially relevant as this year’s kidsREAD programme was focused on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics.

A volunteer from Amazon Web Services guiding two young children through the Junior Computational Kits.
A volunteer from Amazon Web Services guiding two young children through the Junior Computational Kits.

Throughout the year, we worked closely with NLB to hold free one-hour workshops titled ‘Tiny Thinkers On The Go’ at Tampines and Jurong Regional Libraries, where our Junior Computational Thinking kits were also distributed. We hope that participants of all our Tiny Thinkers events enjoyed completing the kit activities and that this jumpstarts their interests in computational thinking!

Thank you to all the Amazon Web Services (AWS) volunteers from AWS InCommunities and Connect@Amazon for collaborating with us for this event!
Thank you to all the Amazon Web Services (AWS) volunteers for collaborating with us for this event!

We also want to thank our Amazon Web Services volunteers who helped us to guide the children and spread the word about computational thinking among the event’s participants! We couldn’t have reached out to as many people without their assistance, persistence and love.

Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, dropped by our booth to have a chat with Thinzar, President of Tiny Thinkers, and our Amazon Web Services volunteers.
Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, also dropped by our booth to have a chat with Thinzar, President of Tiny Thinkers, and our Amazon Web Services volunteers.

Tiny Thinkers will also continue to collaborate with NLB next year, where free Junior Computational Thinking Kits will be given out to 3,500 participants of the kidsREAD programme to equip them with the tools to be digitally-ready.

More children trying their hand at our Junior Computational Thinking kits!
More children trying their hand at our Junior Computational Thinking kits!

If you weren’t able to get a kit this year, fret not! We know that as parents, we all want to give our children a headstart in this digital age. Do keep a lookout on our Tiny Thinkers page (or Facebook page) for updates on what we’re doing and on our future events!

Another Amazon Web Services volunteer assisting participants in Computational Thinking.
Another Amazon Web Services volunteer assisting participants in Computational Thinking.

2020 definitely looks like an exciting year ahead for our Tiny Thinkers!

About kidsREAD
A nationwide reading programme launched in 2004, it encourages positive attitudes towards reading and aims to inculcate good reading habits among young Singaporeans of all races, and especially those from low-income families.

For more information, please click here.

About Tiny Thinkers
A non-profit campaign by Coding Lab that aims to empower and educate parents to kickstart their little one’s journey in Computational Thinking.

For more information, please click here.

Coding Lab was invited to be a part of Project We Care Garden Party at the Istana on 1st September 2019. Our founders and volunteer tutors were on-hand and eager to impart their coding knowledge to people of all ages at the booth.

Coding is for everyone of any age!
Coding is for everyone of any age!

The bi-annual social wellness event by the People’s Association reached out to 1,500 beneficiaries from low-income families, the less privileged children, and the elderly. Visitors to Coding Lab’s booth were treated to a programming feast as they got to code Photon robots to ‘eat’ mooncakes, ketupats, putu mayams and cupcakes (Each delicacy representing one of the major ethnic groups in Singapore!).

Our Founders with Mr Chan Chun Sing, Deputy Chairman of the People's Association and Minister for Trade and Industry, at the Project We Care event.
Our Founders with Mr Chan Chun Sing, Deputy Chairman of the People’s Association and Minister for Trade and Industry, at the Project We Care event.

Coding Lab has been working to bring programming to communities as part of this initiative. Our volunteers have taught Python to youths and conducted workshops on app usage for the elderly. We are proud to do our part in spreading digital literacy in Singapore.

It’s Coding Lab’s honour to be a part of Project We Care Garden Party at the Istana, where we were able to showcase and share with others the joy of coding and programming. Thank you to the People’s Association for giving us the opportunity to participate in this meaningful initiative to give back to the community – we can’t wait for our next corporate social responsibility event!

About Project We Care

Started in 2012 by People’s Association, the project aims to rally businesses to contribute to meaningful causes in the community and to encourage volunteerism. The bi-annual Garden Party @ Istana partners with corporations to bring joy to beneficiaries through fun and engaging activities.

To find out more about Project We Care, click here.

Coding Lab and Tiny Thinkers were at the inaugural Smart Nation & U event on 30th November and 1st December to spread the coding word to families through fun. If you weren’t there, here’s the rundown on the things that happened!

Wai Yee, our Operations Manager, sharing with a parent what we do here at Coding Lab.
Wai Yee, our Operations Manager, sharing with a parent what we do here at Coding Lab.

The collaborative two-day event between Smart Nation and Digital Government Office and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) was held at Downtown East to share how new technologies are transforming the ways that we work, live and play. Indeed, the future is digital and it is essential to spark interests in tech – especially in our children.

A participant using a micro:bit to play a Scratch game.
A participant using a micro:bit to play a Scratch game.

Coding Lab engaged children with our wireless micro:bits, which were connected to Scratch games on the laptop. This gave them a peek into what we do in our Young Computer Scientists (for ages 7 to 9) and Advanced Computer Scientists (for ages 10 to 12) classes.

Lakshmi, Head of Marketing at Tiny Thinkers, getting parents and their children acquainted with the workshop and tips on how they can navigate in a Smart Nation.
Lakshmi, Head of Marketing at Tiny Thinkers, getting parents and their children acquainted with the workshop and sharing tips on how they can navigate in a Smart Nation.

On the other hand, Tiny Thinkers held free Tiny Thinkers On The Go workshops that distributed free Junior Computational Thinking kits for exciting parent-child activities.

Parents working on the Junior Computational Thinking kits alongside their child, and with the help of a Smart Nation Ambassador.
Parents working on the Junior Computational Thinking kits alongside their child, and with the help of a Smart Nation Ambassador.

We would like to thank our participants for joining us at our workshops, as well as the Smart Nation Ambassadors who were on-hand and actively facilitated learning among parents and children!

Coding has no age limit – we shared information on coding with people of all ages!
Coding has no age limit – we shared information on coding with people of all ages!

Coding Lab and Tiny Thinkers are pleased to work with Smart Nation Singapore once again at the Smart Nation & U event, to move towards the goal of Singapore becoming a world-class city with a leading economy powered by digital innovation. We look forward to the next time that we get to join forces again!

About Smart Nation Singapore
It is a nationwide initiative by the Singapore Government to harness the power of technology to build a Digital Economy, Digital Government and Digital Society. It was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2014, who described the goal and future of this nation-building initiative as a Singapore “where we can create possibilities for ourselves beyond what we imagined possible”.

For more information, please click here.