We sent our intern to Japan to teach over the summer holidays. He shares his 4 key takeaways on how children learn.

Monday, 1400H: The plane touched down at Haneda airport. It was my second time in Tokyo, but it certainly felt different from my first. As I breathed in the cool air and looked around me, I felt a sense of excitement as to what would await me the next day, when I would first step into the Coding Lab Japan campus and have my first interaction with the students and teaching team.

Tuesday, 0800H: Finally! After a quick ride on the efficient subway, I was about to take my first step into the Coding Lab campus – easily identifiable with the Signature Coding Lab emblem visible on the glass door. My time in Coding Lab Japan was about to begin.

I stepped through the glass doors, and here’s what I learnt:

Coding Lab Japan Campus (Tokyo, Japan)
Coding Lab Japan Campus (Tokyo, Japan)
  1. Entertain their curiosities

In Japan, I had a very young student who was very nervous and afraid in class. But I soon found out that she loved to play the piano. She was fascinated when I introduced the different musical instruments in Scratch, and we had great fun creating music related projects together. I realised just how important it was to pay attention to the children’s curiosities and interests, as that would be what gives them their intrinsic motivation to learn. We need to ensure that we discover the topic that the child is interested in, and engage them by combining it with programming concepts to build a fun project.

Moral of the story: Children will be curious, no matter which country they are from. They are always fascinated about how things work, and more often than not, there will be a mischievous student in class figuring out how to take it apart. Taking note of what they are curious about is a good way to find out more about the child’s interests, and these are going to be your best allies in grabbing and holding that child’s attention.

  1. Understand how they Learn

Although many of the students in Japan do not take English as their first language, communication was no issue as I was able to help them understand key concepts by switching between different methods of teaching. I alternated between drawing it out, to using real-life examples (acting it out sometimes!), and most importantly, encouraging them to try it out by themselves. The satisfaction when they finally got it and were able to write their lines of code brought a huge smile to my face.

Moral of the story: Children learn and develop at different rates. It is important to understand how they learn, and adjust our teaching methods accordingly. The process of figuring out the child’s learning style will require time, observations, and trial and error. At the end of the day, it is completely worth it, just to make a difference in the child’s life.

Students in Japan learning how to code using Scratch
Students in Japan learning how to code using Scratch
  1. Explore through Play

Whether in Japan or Singapore, students are always excited about playing with their own games after they have created them. They often get absorbed in experimenting with their projects, oftentimes changing a value here and there which makes a huge difference to the difficulty and gameplay of their games.

Encouraging students to experiment with the games they have learnt to create reinforces what they have learnt and also helps to build confidence in their own abilities. Sometimes the results of their experiments can surprise you!

A student in Japan was playing with one of the tech toys at Coding Lab – an Airblock drone – during his break time and he could program the drone without much help even though he has not done it before, as it was similar to what he had learnt in Scratch.

Moral of the story: Children love to play! Play is one of the main ways in which children learn. Give the children some time to play and experiment on their own; you’ll be surprised by their concentration, and what they can achieve.

Learning to fly and code the Airblock drone
Yilun with the kids – Learning to fly and code the Airblock drone
  1. Challenge them at the Right Level

Whenever any of the students got stuck writing their code, I would ask them to take a quick break if they needed to, and challenge them to solve the problem when they return. More often than not, they quickly got into solving the problem, as solving a challenge given by a teacher gives them a great sense of accomplishment.

However, it is important to take note of the abilities of the children, and challenge them at the right level. Giving them a challenge that is not within their capabilities will discourage them, doing more harm than good. It is important to observe the capabilities of the children, and create challenges that are slightly outside of their comfort zone.

In the Coding Lab curriculum, there are many different problems and challenges available, designed for different levels of abilities to bring out the best in your child.

Moral of the story: Challenges and competitions are a great (and fun) way to get the children involved and motivated. This way, you can push the child to achieve more, and build their confidence.

Wednesday, 1630: As I boarded the flight back to Singapore, I couldn’t help but review the memories of my experience in Japan. All in all, it was amazing and I really enjoyed the chance to make an impact in the students’ lives during my time in Coding Lab Japan. On top of that, I experienced the wonderful culture of Japan and visited many beautiful places. 

I have truly learned a lot from the teams in both Japan and Singapore and the experience has been invaluable.

Nikko, Japan - The beautiful Shinkyo Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage site (One of my favourite places in Tokyo)
Nikko, Japan – The beautiful Shinkyo Bridge, a UNESCO World Heritage site (One of my favourite places in Tokyo)

Parents’ Learning Festival 2018

Coding Lab was privileged to be a part the Parents’ Learning Festival 2018. Our founder, Mr Foo Yong Ning was an invited panelist where he addressed issues on S.T.E.A.M. Learning in this digital Age.

Our Founder, Yong Ning, as an invited panelist for the Parents' Learning Festival 2018
Our Founder, Yong Ning, as an invited panelist for the Parents’ Learning Festival 2018

Key issues debated included the way learning has changed in the 21st Century (where students are now taught to think and apply what they have learned, rather than rote memorisation of notes), as well as the implications of this in countries all over the world, comparing the technology adoption rate of Singapore with other countries such as China and India (Eg. Cashless Payment and mobile apps).

Our co-founder, Candice also gave a talk on Coding: The Language of the Future, where she shared more on how coding is not a separate subject, but rather, a language or a skill that can be applied to all disciplines, including Math and Science.

Our co-founder, Candice, giving a speech on Coding: The Language of the Future
Our co-founder, Candice, giving a speech on Coding: The Language of the Future
Conducting the 1st coding class of the Sep hols!
Conducting the 1st coding class of the Sep hols!

Whilst the parents were busy with their talks, students also had lots fun with their first foray into coding at our class conducted during the festival.

Cracking the Code: Coding Lab Feature in Little Magazine (Aug – Oct 2018)

We are featured in the August – October 2018 issue of Little Magazine! Read on to discover what our Founder, Yong Ning and our Curriculum Advisor, Julius have to share on why Coding is so important for the children of today’s digital age.

Little (Aug - Oct'18) Feature
Little (Aug – Oct’18) Feature (Page 90)
Little (Aug - Oct'18) Feature (Page 91)
Little (Aug – Oct’18) Feature (Page 91)

 

Coding Lab Student Feature: Josephine, 14, Raffles Girls’ School

Our team had the opportunity to catch up with our talented student, Josephine, 14. A member of her school’s Infocomm club, she started with Coding Lab in 2017, where she was first introduced to Python programming. She has since progressed upward and can now count programming in C++ as another skill under her belt. This humble and intelligent student shares with us her journey in programming and why she enjoys the challenge it poses for her.

Hi Josephine! Could you share with us how you got started on coding?

I started coding at the end of 2017, mostly due to school’s influence because I am in the Infocomm club. I like computers so I thought I might as well try coding and see if my interest lies there. So that is how I started researching on coding – lessons and which ones I can join. 

How was the learning experience and what did you like about it?

I started with Python and it was very fun! Honestly! It was new and it was fun. It was something other than school work so it was great. I guess afterward I became more and more interested so I kept continuing the lessons. And I think another part of Python that I really enjoyed was Python Perfect which was basically coding challenges. I would work on different challenges each week, to devise a solution to the problems.  I really enjoyed it and that kept my interest sustained. 

I started with Python and it was very fun! I really enjoyed Python Perfect which was basically coding challenges.

I know you are preparing for the NOI competition. How does it differ from your previous Python lessons?

NOI is a completely different language – which is C++. Initially, the first day was quite hard to convert over to C++ because the syntax is quite different. But right now I find it quite fun.

How does C++ compare to Python?

I think it’s the same. Both require logical thinking and designing algorithms. But C++, because it is an NOI lesson – the challenges are really hard. Harder than the Python ones. So they are quite hard to deal with and I feel like my brain is exploding sometimes (laughs) but it is still fun! 

How does it help you in school? Do you think it is an essential skill to learn? 

When I code in school, I do see some of my friends getting interested in it.  They will ask me about it. I told my CCA teacher that I am taking Python lessons outside of infocomm because Infocomm doesn’t do any Python lessons. I enjoy thinking – especially the application of school mathematics to Python. I get really excited when I see lines and lines of code (yes, really!).

I enjoy thinking – especially the application of school mathematics to Python.

What career would you like to pursue in the future?

I cannot very confidently say I would like to code for the rest of my life (laughs). But definitely more towards the area of Science. I think it is an extremely important skill to have because society is fast-paced now.

Technology is getting more and more advanced so in the future, it will be hard to survive in the world when you have absolutely no idea what is happening behind the computers, the AI, and the robots. 

Josephine, 14, is a student at Raffles Girls’ School. She started off with our basic Python course and recently attended our NOI preparation class this summer. The National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) is organized by NUS School of Computing annually to spur interest within the school community and to create more awareness among the students and teachers on the finer points of programming, which involves useful algorithmic techniques and problem-solving skills.

#Girl Power: Meet Sarah, our talented young coder. Starting from ground zero,  she has come a long way – after all, she clinched an Honourable mention at the National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) in March 2018, in just less than six months of learning to code. How did she do it? Read more from our plucky student as she shares with us her journey with coding and how it has impacted her life.

Q: Tell us how you got started with coding. What do you like most about it?
Sarah: It was Coding Lab that sparked my interest in coding. In the past, I’d never imagined using a computer for anything more than a Google search. But after a few lessons at Coding Lab, as I began to take my first steps into the Python programming language, I fell head over heels in love with coding. My interest surprised even myself! My teacher Mr. Foo is truly inspirational. As I  started with no coding experience, he guided me with infinite patience and would be more than happy to fill the board with diagrams and explanations just to make sure that I completely understood a concept. His enthusiasm really got me into coding- passion for coding is contagious! I started out with the Python meets Math course and I think it’s a great course for easing complete beginners like me into computers and coding. After you complete the course, you’ll have enough programming knowledge to read and understand code, pick up new languages and, most importantly, explore things through coding.

Sarah and her family, trekking in the USA
Sarah, with her family, trekking in the USA

Q: It took you less than six months to participate in your first coding competition. How did you manage that?
Sarah: Well, The one thing I like most about coding is the freedom and possibility it presents. The fundamentals of coding are quite simple, but there’s so much that you can do just using variables, functions, and loops! I understood this when I was learning Python, but only truly appreciated it when I began learning algorithms and C++ to take part in the NOI. Mr. Foo started teaching me sorting algorithms about halfway through my December break, and I still remember my delight when I realized that I was beginning to explore coding at deeper and very relevant level. That’s why I decided to try out the NOI as a personal challenge. It was tough, but fun!

The National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI), held at the NUS School of Computing
The National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI), held at the NUS School of Computing

“After learning about graphs and data structures, I saw how coding can be used for modelling and organizing real-world information- just thinking about it makes me excited!”

Q: That’s really impressive! Not many would dare to compete so quickly! How did you feel about it?
Sarah: Well, I think I just felt that there was nothing to lose! I was definitely a little nervous before the competition, but I always saw it as just another stepping stone to an even better understanding of coding. I faced a steep learning curve while preparing for the competition, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

Sarah, receiving her award at the NOI competition in March 2018
Sarah, receiving her award at the NOI competition in March 2018

Q: Now that the competition is over, what else do you think you want to do with coding?
Sarah: I’ve really just brushed the surface of computer science. Coding is really a language, and just like someone learning a second spoken language, I’m still learning how to express myself and get my ideas down in clean (and readable!) code. I know that this only comes with practice and experience, so in the meantime, I plan to continue my journey into the awesome world of algorithms. I really want to be able to understand algorithms on a high level so that I can comfortably modify them and use them to solve complex problems. I hope that someday I can even design sophisticated algorithms myself! Apart from that, I also want to explore coding for modelling and simulations. That also makes me very excited.

Q: Designing algorithms – that’s fantastic. Could you share with us why you think learning to code is so important?
Sarah: Coding is an important skill to have not just because people with a coding background earn higher salaries- more than that, coding gives you power over the technology that will only play an increasingly significant role in your life. Speaking from a teenager’s perspective, there’s never a day when I don’t use my phone or computer. Coding also opens your mind to a different way of thinking.

“I find myself applying the logic and analytical skills I’ve picked up in coding both in school and in everyday life.”

Q: Apart from coding, what else do you like to do in your spare time? What’s a typical day for you like; how do you unwind at home after school?
Sarah: Well, to be honest, coding has slowly become the hobby I really enjoy- but I still love baking! When I’m not studying or coding, I’m usually in the kitchen covered in flour or busy scouring blogs for recipes. I’m also learning tai chi fan, which I find a fun and challenging exercise. And yes! fishkeeping is one of my hobbies and I rear Discus fish at home.

Discus FIsh - One of Sarah's hobbies (Believe it or not!)
Rearing Discus Fish – One of Sarah’s hobbies (Believe it or not!)

Q: Coding, baking, fishkeeping – way cool! so what do you think you will end up doing when you grow up?
Sarah: I’m still rather tentative when it comes to my career aspirations, but I really want to study math and computer science in college. And I honestly can’t imagine myself in a job unrelated to either of these fields- so maybe I’ll end up as a coder, who knows!

How Sarah unwinds: Baking cream puffs
How Sarah unwinds: Baking cream puffs

Q: We hope so too! Lastly, in the current field of STEM, there is sometimes the mistaken impression that it is ‘only for boys’. How do you think girls can be encouraged to pursue their passion in Math, Science and coding? Do you have any tips for young girls who want to code? 
Sarah: To all girls who are thinking about getting into coding, my advice is to not be afraid and try it out! It’s never too late to begin coding, and everyone- even experienced coders- has been a newbie at some point in time. If you find that you really like coding, then go ahead and explore at your own pace, and don’t forget to enjoy every moment! Starting to learn how to code is the hardest part.

“You’ll definitely encounter problems and get frustrated at times, but with patience, there’s nothing that you can’t achieve. There’s no one who can’t or shouldn’t learn how to code.”

Also- speaking from experience, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the troves of information online. Don’t let this get the better of you. Just take things step by step. Break down a hard concept into bite-sized chunks. If you need a couple days to process something, that’s perfectly fine! Coding is a lifelong journey. Personally, even though I’ve learned a lot in the past few months I only feel that the more I learn, the more I realize that I don’t know.

“It’s weird but true- so just be sure take the time to appreciate what you’re learning, and don’t be intimidated by the vastness of coding, because that’s where all the possibility lies, and that’s what makes coding beautiful!”

Sarah is currently a JC1 student at Hwa Chong International. She attended Python Meets Math class from 2017 – 2018 and received an honourable mention at the 2018 NOI competition, in less than six months after she picked up coding. 

Congratulations to our Co-Founder, Ms Candice Wang who was recently featured receiving the prestigious School Of The Year award (Computer Science) on behalf of Coding Lab.

Coding Lab is proud to be recognised amongst the top schools and products in Singapore, alongside BusyBees, Heguru Education, Royal Carribean Cruises, and Sophie La Girafe.

A huge Thank You to all Parents and Students for your unwavering support.

Candice Wang, Co-Founder of Coding Lab
Candice Wang, Co-Founder of Coding Lab, on winning the award
Our Co-Founder, Candice, featured in Little Magazine
Our Co-Founder, Candice, featured in Little Magazine

Our student, Jake was recently featured in #ALittleSomebody, by Lianhe Zaobao 联合早报. Congratulations to Jake and his cute family! From his winning Bat out of a Bat game, to a Birthday App for his Dad, to a beautiful game for his little brother, Jake is truly a young talent in coding.

P/s: Catch our Founder, Foo Yong Ning in action as he coaches Jake and his classmates during their lesson.

Doing our part to train up our young coders to become future leaders in technology!

Our June Holiday Camps are now open for registration!

This Summer, let your child pick up a skill or two at our June Holiday Coding Camps. Sign Up Early to enjoy a $50 Early Bird Discount!

Slots are limited! Call us at +65 6528 2282 reserve a place for your child.

Experience the Coding Lab Difference

• Award-Winning MIT- inspired curriculum from our global experts
• Guaranteed 1:8 teacher to student ratio
• Exciting themed coding camps, in partnership with leading industry experts

LOCATIONS:
• Upper Bukit Timah
• Ang Mo Kio Library
• NSRCC (Changi)
• Various Themed Camps in collaboration with our industry partners

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AVAILABLE PROGRAMMES:

FINAL SCRATCH BEG
Scratch Beginner I / Beginner II (Ages 7-12)
Scratch Beginner I & II – Accelerated (Ages 10-12)

Scratch Intermediate
Scratch Intermediate (Ages 10-12)

Decoding the Code I - Mythical Beasts (By Lorna Whiston x Coding Lab)
• NEW! Decoding the Code I – Mythical Beasts (By Lorna Whiston x Coding Lab)

App Inventor
MIT App Inventor (Ages 10 -12)

PythonXMinecraft
Python x Minecraft (Ages 13-16)

Art x Coding Movie Madness
NEW! Mad About Movies! Art x Coding Camp (With Abrakadoodle) (Ages 7-12)

Astro Coding Camp

• NEW! Astronaut x Coding Camp (With The Little Executive) (Ages 7-9)

Pororo
NEW! Coding with Pororo! (Ages 4-8)
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Founded by an MIT Alumnus who worked in Silicon Valley, our MIT-inspired curriculum challenges your child to develop computational thinking and problem-solving skills, with a strong emphasis on inquiry-based learning and the application of key mathematical concepts.

We are honoured to have been voted the Best Coding Curriculum (16/17) by Parents, as awarded by Parents World Magazine, Singapore.

Coding Lab offers programming classes for ages 4-16 in Japan, Perth and Singapore.

Dear Parents,

We did a Holiday Coding with Pororo program last November 2016, and were heartened by the overwhelming response from both parents and kids. We are pleased to announce that the Coding with Pororo programme is back, this time, not as a one-time session, but with five full sessions, where kids will get to create a proper digital Pororo story and get the chance to meet Pororo himself!

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Coding with Pororo! – Learn the commands (Ages 4-6)

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Kids going to their Pororo coding stations

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A happy student showing his completed Pororo Story!

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Kids in Action – completing their story with Pororo

Kids will start off learning the attributes of the commands by having an activity session, using giant commands to direct each other and learn about mathematics (counting), while learning coding sequences and loops in the process. Exclusively at Pororo Park, make your favourite characters spin, twirl, hop or jump, or even do all 4 at once! Add your own music, backgrounds, and voila! your child’s very own Pororo story is formed.

Day 1: Introduction to Scratch Junior
Exploring and familiarising with the Scratch interface
*Special Guest appearance by Pororo!

Day 2: Basic Computational Techniques
Choosing characters and backgrounds
Animating Characters with basic Motion blocks

Day 3: Control your Characters
Adding Speed and learning the concept of loops
Counting using the grid

Day 4: Animation
Adding Speech and sound
Interaction between the sprites (Start on Bump, etc)

Day 5: Project showcase
Work on your game concept
Use the techniques you have learnt over the past 4 days
Show and tell
*Guess What, Pororo himself may be coming down to watch the performance!

Venue: Pororo Park Singapore
Dates: 10 Feb – 10 March (Every Friday, 4-6pm) OR 11 Feb – 11 March (Every Saturday, 9-11am)
No. of sessions: 5 x 2 Hours (+ 2 Hours FREE playtime!)
Age: 3 years and above with 1 accompanied parent (optional)

Program Fees:
Non-Member: $445
Annual Member: $395
Gold/Silver Member: $345

Prices includes: Admission rates for 1 child & 1 accompanying adult
2 hour workshop + 2 hour playtime FREE!

Sign Up Now: http://www.codinglab.com.sg/our-classes … preschool/

For more enquiries: Call +65 6528 2282 today!