Today, we meet Evan, one of our educators at Coding Lab! Since he was in secondary school, Evan has honed his expertise in coding. He is patient, focused and loving, constantly encouraging his students and shining a spotlight on them. Like all our educators, he finds purpose and passion in teaching coding to children.

Hi Evan, could you share a bit about yourself and how you embarked on your coding journey?

Team Photo - Evan, Educator
Meet Evan, our passionate educator, who has been with us since November 2018

In secondary school, I had to select an elective, and that was when I found out that I could take up Computing as a GCE O-Level subject. I gave it a shot, and that was when I discovered that it was so interesting to learn about technology and the different things that I could create.

This led me to choose a related course in polytechnic, which then led to my posting at the Ministry of Home Affairs for my National Service. I was tasked with creating different technological solutions for people in different Home Team departments, and I was fascinated at how technology could benefit people in so many various ways. Hence, I decided to major in Business Information Systems in university to learn even more about technology – and it is ever-changing, so I am still always learning!

What inspired you to teach coding?

While I was doing my internship in my polytechnic days and serving my National Service, I realised that a lot of people were still handling typical work tasks manually in very traditional methods when automation could easily be performed to make it more efficient. Many people still do not know about it and think of coding as something that is very complicated, something that can only be done by programmers. This inspired me to share my knowledge with others to help them understand that coding isn’t something that is complicated, and that anyone can learn to code.

I then chanced upon an opportunity to teach at Coding Lab in November 2018, and I thought, why not? Seeing my students come in with no knowledge of coding in their first lesson and watching them grow as they start to passionately show me what they have coded at home brought me immense joy.

Photo of Evan and his students holding up the new Augmented Reality textbooks for P11S-AR
Evan with his pumped Young Computer Scientist students

From there, I discovered my own passion for teaching. I decided to continue my journey with Coding Lab as an Adjunct Educator throughout my education and upon graduation, where I can continue doing what I love.

“It’s great seeing them grow from making minor errors in codes to creating big projects on their own without much help!”

Why is it important that children learn how to code?

In today’s digital age, technology is an integral part of most of our lives. Coding allows us to train our computational thinking skills, applying it to areas like math, improving logical thinking and problem-solving for creative solutions. Even if students do not become programmers in the future, it would still be beneficial to learn to code. These computational thinking skills can be applied in school and in their daily lives as well. Today, it’s great that more parents and students are witnessing the digital transformation in our world and are valuing the importance of learning to code too.

Zoom photo of Evan and his P201 App Inventor students
Evan teaching online and connecting with his students

What motivates you to keep teaching?

One of my favourite moments that keep me going would be seeing my students grasp the concepts taught in class and they are then able to apply them on their own. There is no one answer when it comes to coding and it’s always interesting to see how they independently code with their new knowledge. Some of them can get really creative and have unique ideas of their own!

What is your most memorable class experience thus far?

My most memorable class experience would be seeing some of my Python 1 students advancing on to Python 2 and 3, and eventually to our Advanced Application and Electives programme. It’s great seeing them grow from making minor errors in codes to creating big projects on their own without much help!

Photo of Evan guiding his students through their code
Passionately guiding his students through their codes

In particular, I used to teach a few students in my Python Perfect classes who were initially not that strong in their Python coding. Through their lessons, they slowly made improvements, and gradually grew their interest in coding. Some have progressed to the more advanced courses, and even taking the initiative to create their own personal projects at home!

What advice would you give other teachers on how to manage a class?

Keep calm and cope with the situation! Often different situations could arise in classes, so it’s important to observe the students and adapt accordingly.

Thank you, Evan, for taking the time to share your experiences with us. We know you will continue to care for and inspire our future leaders in technology, both as their teacher and role model!

(Written by Amanda Soh)

Read Next: Coding Lab Educator Feature with Edmund Teow


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

Awards (600 x 129)
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 4-6 | Ages 7-9 | Ages 10-12 | Ages 13-18

Call us at +65 6528 2282
Email us at learntocode@codinglab.com.sg
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

Let’s strive to do our best to have an Optimistic October while staying safe and healthy! Before we get started with the list of exciting tech-activities, here’s the #TechFact for this month – it’s got something we all should be wary of! 👀

Did you know that over 6,000 new computer viruses are created and released every month? As a matter of fact, 90% of emails contain some form of malware!

An example would be the computer worm which rose to prominence on 5 May 2000 and is referred to as Love Bug or Love Letter For You. It infected over ten million Windows personal computers as it spreads as an email message with the subject line “ILOVEYOU” and the attachment “LOVE-LETTER-FOR-YOU.TXT.vbs”.

Image of emails
It’s important for us to be vigilant and double check the senders of the emails that we receive. If we are doubtful that it is from someone we know, send them a text or give them a short call to confirm if the email really came from them.

Now that we’re all warmed up, keep scrolling to discover techtivities that you and your family can indulge in this month! 😉

Back to School with NASA: Student and Educator Resources for 2021-2022

NASA has recently launched their student and educator resources for the 2021-2022 school year and we’re all for it! They’ve got a long list of activities and thought-provoking challenges for students from preschool to university, whether they are returning to brick-and-mortar schools or virtual classrooms at home. 

There is also a separate page dedicated to activities specially designed for preschoolers – so parents, be sure to check it out and get quality time with your kids! Check out one of their awesome projects below called: Make a Moon Crater – where you can learn more about craters and make the moon look like cheese! 

Details:
Includes: Activities and challenges for students in preschool to university
Price: Free
Click here for more.


Read! Fest Literary Trail: The Curious Adventure Of The Salaryman

Do you need a perk-me-up after having all those Work From Home days? Here’s some good news for you: the National Library Board has installed an interactive literary trail at these 3 locations: East Coast Park, West Coast Park and the National Library Building for a multi-sensory reading experience like no other! 

The trail, titled The Curious Adventure of the Salaryman, allows participants to join digital protagonist Gerry as he navigates his own adventure to reinvent himself and disrupt his tiresome routine. 📱

Keep an eye out for the six colourful stations onsite – while you can start at any station by scanning the QR code at the stations, for the full experience, make sure to start off at the first station for each venue!
– East Coast Park: Near East Coast Lagoon Food Village
– West Coast Park: Near McDonald’s West Coast Park
– West Coast Park: Near McDonald’s West Coast Park

You (and even your little ones too!) can embark on a journey of self-discovery while being surrounded by beautiful nature – all thanks to technology! Psst, they are even having a giveaway for the event, which you can learn more here.

Details:
Date: Till 31 October 2021
Duration of trail: The entire trail can be completed within 30mins (inclusive of walking distance of ~5mins between each station).
Includes: 7 mini-games, side quests and more!
Price: Free
To find out more, click here.


Become a Ranger with WILDChildTV!

It’s not yet possible for us to freely travel around the world, but thankfully the Internet has got our back! Our little ones (including you mums and dads!) are able to explore and learn about places around the world with information right at your fingertips – like &Beyond’s WILDchild TV

&Beyond’s WILDchild TV features educational videos that enables kids to learn fun facts about the wildlife and nature in Africa from experienced rangers. From videos about Survival Skills, How An Animal Works to Birds and Birding, your ranger-in-the-making will have a blast learning with the bite-sized videos! 

Duration of each video is less than 10 minutes (bite-sized indeed!) and are 💯 free to watch.

Details:
Includes: Fun videos on wildlife in Africa
Price: Free
Learn more here.


Coding Bytes: Virus Warrior

Coding Lab’s latest video series Coding Bytes is the best way to learn programming if you’re looking for something easy and quick to digest, and for your kids to do at home! Follow our step-by-step tutorial videos alongside your little ones and be amazed at what they can do with Scratch.

Follow Tutor Joanne in our latest tutorial, Virus Warrior, as she programmes the character Ben to catch as many masks and hand sanitisers as he can while avoiding the virus! 🦠 This program aims to educate our young ones about the necessities we need to have during the pandemic, like our masks and hand sanitiser! 

Remix Tutor Joanne’s program here! 👉https://scratch.mit.edu/projects/533854338/ 

Let your kids try this tutorial out! They’re free to let their creative juices flow and change up the game with their own unique add-ons. Afterwards, send over their remix to community@codinglab.com.sg for a chance to be featured! We look forward to receiving your submissions. 🤩✨

Details:
Includes: Engaging, fun and quick tutorials on Scratch programming
Price: Free
Watch the series here.


Come join our Post-PSLE Coding Camps!

Our October Coding Camps are here and we’ve got something for ages 7 to 18, whether you’ve just ended exams or are on holidays! Don’t miss out on the fun and quickly grab your spots here! 

Rest assured that safe distancing measures will be adhered to at all times, and the option to do Online classes are always available. Should you have any queries, drop us an emailcall us or WhatsApp us to get in touch! 

Post PSLE Coding Camps Banner

Details:
When: 11-15 October & 18-21 October 2021
Location: Online, Parkway Parade, Bukit Timah (KAP Mall)
Price: From $375.25
To find out more, click here.

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


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

Awards (600 x 129)

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

Call us at +65 6528 2282
Email us at learntocode@codinglab.com.sg
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

It’s a brand new month and that means… another exciting line-up of techtivities (tech+activities)! You can add these into your growing to-do list now that we’re out of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert). 😉

Before we get started, let’s begin with September’s #TechFact on memory technology.

Did you know that One Petabyte (PB) = 1024 (TB)? To put this in perspective, a 50PB hard drive could hold the entire written works of mankind from the beginning of recorded history in all languages!

In fact, in 2017, Facebook, Google and YouTube accounted for approximately 35,000 PB of data generated – you could actually store our cumulative recorded history 700 times over! 😲

Image of Memory Cards
Memory cards are one of the items we store our data in. Credit: Unsplash

Are you ready for September’s Techtivities now? Keep scrolling to discover what you and your family can indulge in this month!

Google Doodle Champion Island Games (Tokyo Olympics 2020)

Feeling the Olympics blues? You can still experience it with Google Doodle. Google came up with a creative way to mark the start of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 – that is with an animated athletics game called Doodle Champion Island Games!

The role-playing game is filled with seven sport mini-games, legendary opponents, dozens of side quests and more! You will join the cathlete (cat-athlete), Lucky, to defeat each sport champion and collect all seven sacred scrolls. 

With its retro visuals, the game is reminiscent of the old Game Boy days and serves as a good past-time activity! Isn’t it so awesome how technology can be used to create such projects to complement and hype events like the Olympics?  

Google Doodle Champion Island Game GIF

Details:
Includes: 7 mini-games, side quests and more!
Price: Free
To find out more, click here.


Rainforest Lumina

As restrictions ease, why not plan an educational time to the zoo for your family? You can go on a mesmerising multi-sensory journey into the lush rainforest of the Singapore Zoo – the Rainforest Lumina! They’ve got 10 zones that are complete with immersive audiovisual and lights that will dazzle both young and old.

You will get to meet the Creature Crew, a heroic group of eight virtual animals who will accompany you on your adventure. From an orangutan to a white tiger, pangolin, hornbills, and more, they will help keep you #woke on eco issues! 

Described as a “multimedia night walk on the wild side”, it is now in its third and final season since starting in 2018 – don’t miss out on this opportunity to experience it! It’s so amazing to see the kind of events that can be made when we bring technology into it – this Tech x Nature event is just spectacular – and gets you wondering more about how else technology can intersect with other aspects of life.

Image of Rainforest Lumina

Details:
Includes: An immersive multi-sensory journey into the lush rainforest of Singapore Zoo
When: Until 13 February 2022
Price: Child – $14, Adult/Youth – $18, Local Senior Citizen – $14
Learn more or sign up here.


Learning Beautiful’s Coding Meets Science Webinar

Learning Beautiful Singapore has a series of webinars that you can watch to broaden your understanding of computer science – they’ve conducted some on interesting topics like Montessori at Home and All About Pixels!

Their last one: Coding Meets Science will go live on Saturday, 4 September at 10am! You can join the Co-Founder of Coding Lab, Candice Wang, as she shares the importance of STEM and how you can begin laying the foundation in your children’s lives. 😉 If you’ve got any burning questions on STEM, you can send them in and get them answered in real-time too!

*Recommended for parents with kids ages 3 to 9 

Coding Meets Science Webinar banner

Details:
Coding Meets Science takes place on Saturday, 4 September 2021 at 10am (Click on ‘Going!’ if you can make it 😉)
Location: Facebook Live
Price: Free
Includes: Hour-long webinars (recorded)
To find out more, click here.


Don’t miss out on our October Holiday Coding Camps

Are you all set to welcome the month of October? 🙌 Let your little one discover a new skill with us when they join our exciting October Holiday Coding Camps! 

Coding is a good activity that your child can try out as they get to improve their logical thinking and computational skills. Here’s an overview of what we got: Our primary school students can start off their programming journey with Scratch (ages 7-9) or App Inventor (ages 10-12), while our older kids get to explore Python, a global top 5 programming language (ages 10-12 and ages 13-18!)

You can choose to join our classes physically at any of our centres or online at the comfort of home! Either way, you’ll get to experience our award-winning curriculum. 🏆

Post PSLE Coding Camps Banner

Details:
When: 11-15 October & 18-21 October 2021
Location: Online, Parkway Parade, Bukit Timah (KAP Mall)
Price: $375.25
To find out more, click here.

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


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

Awards (600 x 129)

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

Call us at +65 6528 2282
Email us at learntocode@codinglab.com.sg
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

Many of us probably remember sitting in classrooms, listening to our teachers as we sat quietly and took notes. What if we told you that silent classrooms are a thing of the past? At the heart of the Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) approach, asking lots of questions is the best thing a student could do. 

Globally, IBL is growing in popularity and in fact, it is central to Coding Lab’s teaching methodology – it works even better with the help of technology. Let’s dive into what IBL is, its benefits and how it’s important in enriching our Coding Lab students’ lives!

What exactly is Inquiry-Based Learning?

Inquiry Based Learning
Our inquisitive students love exploring new topics with technology

Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) is an educational strategy where students take a more active approach to their learning through asking questions and finding their own solutions. It’s quite different from what we know – students are now at the centre of teaching and take charge of their own independent learning. Of course, with the right encouragement and guidance, they will be empowered to tackle problems and be motivated to find their own answers.

IBL follows an inquiry cycle. Students will first get acquainted with the topic, then formulate their questions and decide what they want to find out. Through investigating and experimenting, which is key to IBL, they are able to make their inferences and then share their findings with others. Throughout the inquiry process, discussions happen not only at the end, but constantly throughout as reflection and insights from others can help improve the process.

Sounds familiar? Yes, IBL is influenced by The Scientific Method that we were introduced to in our Secondary school’s science lab experiments and research papers in University. Here’s a helpful infographic to navigate your way! 

Inquiry Based Learning IBL Inquiry Cycle Process
Click to enlarge this infographic

Many countries have adopted IBL in their education systems. In Ontario, Canada, and the Dutch school system, IBL is used to teach reading, with impressive results and improvement.

Other benefits include the increase in students’ self-perceived confidence in research skills and effective communication – even six months later. It can also have a significant and positive effect on the building of technological knowledge and the development of problem-solving, critical thinking, and decision-making abilities.

The best part about the inquiry cycle? The more they know, the more they will get thinking about related topics, and the deeper their hunger for knowledge will be. But they know how to find the answers themselves!

How Inquiry-Based Learning and Technology go hand-in-hand

IBL might sound a little tricky and complex, but with technology, it’s a lot easier to carry out. IBL has shown to be an effective method – so, where does technology come in?

Educator Salena and student in our Young Computer Scientists mBot class
Our curious Young Computer Scientist tinkering with Scratch and mBot

You might have heard of a time where people had to physically go to libraries to search for books and encyclopedias. Today, open access to search engines have condensed everything into a device, such as your phone, laptop or tablet. Students now have the world at their fingertips with a simple search.

But how do we get children to start questioning? At Coding Lab, we pique their curiosity with things that they are interested in, such as with games that they love. We get them to start wondering, “How do these games work? Why does the character jump when you press space?” We make sure that we facilitate the inquiry process – we ask them questions to get them thinking, and they get to ask us too. It helps that they can search up their answers, but we don’t want our students to just copy codes, we emphasise on the understanding of codes.

Incorporating Inquiry-Based Learning: What can we do?

Got questions? Our passionate educators have answers.

Technology doesn’t only help with finding the answers, we can do experiments with it and so much more! We know that learning becomes more fun when games are involved, and students get to experiment and find out the answers by watching their guesses play out. Want to understand math concepts like geometry or physics? Play games, code with Scratch or explore Minecraft’s virtual world, and you can learn and experiment individually or in a team.

Another way that technology helps is when we put our heads together for discussions, which are important and should be ongoing throughout the inquiry process, and everyone gets to chime in. Tools such as Poll Everywhere and Survey Monkey have made it easier for participation (especially the shy ones), and online productivity tools elevate learning to the next level. From real-time collaboration with Google Workspace and Padlet to asking questions anonymously on Mentimeter, you can leave no stone unturned!

Now that you understand how technology and IBL work together, you can see why Coding Lab has chosen to make it central to our curriculum and teaching. Every feature of our classes has been carefully designed to allow our kids to flourish, and it’s why IBL is part of our teaching philosophy. Let’s cultivate resilience in our children and teach them the ability to hunt their answers down with the power of Inquiry-Based Learning!

(Written by Nicole Loo, Edited by Zulaikha and Cheryl)


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

Awards (600 x 129)

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

Call us at +65 6528 2282
Email us at learntocode@codinglab.com.sg
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

Let’s get to know our wonderful educator, Salena Arsad! Having had experience teaching core subjects with the Ministry of Education, she decided to broaden her horizons and challenged herself to learn and teach programming at Coding Lab. Her bright and cheerful disposition is sure to encourage her students to learn as best as they can! 

Hi Salena, tell us more about yourself!

Team Photo - Salena, Educator
Salena, always cheery and caring, has been enriching children’s lives since 2017

Hello, I’m Salena and I graduated from Nanyang Technological University with a Master of Education specialising in Developmental Psychology!

It’s amazing that you graduated with a Master of Education! How did your passion for education ignite?

I would say that my passion for teaching appeared gradually. Just before I got my undergraduate degree, there was this period of uncertainty whereby one would decide which career path to follow. My family and friends suggested that I should try teaching because of my character and personality. I was sceptical but took a leap of faith and it kind of snowballed from there. Now, I’ve set my mind that teaching is my path.

What made you take the leap from teaching core subjects in primary schools to teaching programming at Coding Lab?

I guess a bout of bravery to dive into something entirely new. I just felt that it was time for me to challenge myself and see whether I would be able to open up and pick up a whole new world of knowledge. It’s never too late to learn a new skill!

Why do you think it is important to teach coding to our kids?

Salena looking at her student playing his app happily
With a Master of Education, Salena inspires kids to learn through fun

Over the years, there’s been this continuous shift towards a more technologically inclined society. From the initiation of coding classes as a Primary 6 post-PSLE programme to the recent Home-Based Learning during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, we can see why we need to be tech-savvy in order to survive in the coming years. 

That’s why I think that it is important to teach coding to kids as it will give them a head start to live in this type of society. Of course, in coding, there are other aspects such as analytical skills and problem-solving skills, and all these are relevant in everyday life too.

What encourages you to keep teaching?

What keeps me going is the determination to learn as much as I can (in coding, teaching, and even from my students!), my intrinsic motivation to nurture the future generation and the sense of satisfaction I get when I see positive end results. Plus, where else would you get a group of children who would look at you starry-eyed and wowing as they realise that they are learning interesting materials? But classes are not always fun and games! There are some instances of seriousness, and there will also be excitement and laughter. 

“Where else would you get a group of children who would look at you starry-eyed and wowing as they realise that they are learning interesting materials?”

What is your most memorable teaching experience thus far?

Salena teaching two excited students something on the laptop
Educator Salena excites her students in their learning journey

One of my most memorable teaching experiences was during a Young Computer Scientists class. Our project that day was one that would draw circles in different sizes and colours. When I showed my students the demo project and pressed random keys to create a random artwork, they were immediately mesmerised and couldn’t wait to programme it. 

As they coded, there were countless “Wow”s and “Wah”s from so many students. One particular student was so intrigued and touched that he got to learn something so cool that he started thanking me for teaching him this fantastic project. I was so amused at his reaction that I remember it to this day. 

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

I’m an avid reader so I enjoy reading a variety of materials such as fiction books, manhwa (South Korean comics), and manga. Random fun fact: I finished reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix in 8 hours straight back when I was in Primary 5. I was such a bookworm even as a kid. Besides reading, I also enjoy exploring new places like cafes and limited-time attractions. It’s so fun to wander around new locations and get lost along the way. What an adventure!

Thank you, Salena, for sharing your exciting journey with us! We know that you’ll continue to inspire and impart worthwhile coding knowledge to our young and budding coders.


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

Awards (600 x 129)

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

Call us at +65 6528 2282
Email us at learntocode@codinglab.com.sg
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

Thinzar is one of our beloved adjunct educators with a big heart. In this interview, we get to hear more about her non-conventional journey into the tech education industry.

Hi Thinzar, could you share a bit about yourself and how you embarked on this coding journey?

Team Photo - Thinzar, Educator
Thinzar has been an educator with Coding Lab since 2019

I am currently a Year 3 Sociology student at the National University of Singapore (NUS). I have always had an interest in the education sector and wanted to work with children, so Coding Lab was perfect for me!

Personally, I never had experience with coding before coming to Coding Lab so I had to pick it up along the way. During the interview, I was told about the training given to adjunct educators like myself. The moment I stepped in on my first day and realised how comprehensive the training given was (from personal tutorials by the founder, Yong Ning, to role-playing), my fears evaporated and I gained great confidence in teaching coding!

Coding is really fun to learn! But also, it is an important skill that trains important abilities like critical thinking and problem-solving.

That’s quite interesting that you have no coding background! Could you tell us more about how you came to teach coding, specifically?

Well, I was not particularly looking out for coding-related opportunities. I knew I was interested in teaching, so I researched and came across Coding Lab. I did not have experience in coding back then, but I have always liked math and solving problems (yes, even though I am currently studying social science)! Since coding is related to that, I thought I would enjoy learning and in turn, teaching what I have learnt.

Cool! So, what’s your teaching style like?

For me, I’ll first like to spark interest in my students. I ask them what kinds of cartoons, games or characters they like, then suggest some ideas that suit these interests. Often, I’ll get them to create projects that are similar to their favourite games or shows so that this will motivate them. However, I ensure that it’s not just copying what has been done. Instead, I encourage them to try out more things on their own beyond what is being taught. For instance, I challenge them to try adding features like making their Scratch sprites change colour even if we have not covered that in class. This way, it feels more like their achievement and it shows that they understand rather than just following what I do.

What’s even better is when my students ask whether I can be their teacher again for the next course that they plan to attend. That’s when I know that I have been an effective teacher to them!

What advice would you give to children who want to learn coding?

Thinzar in Junior Coders Programme
Thinzar enriches the lives of coders – even Junior Coders!

Coding is really fun to learn! But also, it is an important skill that trains important abilities like critical thinking and problem-solving. For example, you will have to think about what you want your program to do, then think about what to code to achieve that goal, and in what order they should code.

This kind of logical thinking is important, even outside of the class and even if you do not pursue computing in the future. You will always have something to take away, including skills that can be applied in other areas such as Mathematics and in your daily life too.

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just try out new things because that’s how you (and I) learn!

Do you intend to continue teaching coding in the future?

I love teaching coding and interacting with my students! I believe in giving them a voice and our small class sizes allow that. Each student will have his/her own way to solve the problem, and I encourage them to show and tell their ideas to the class so they can learn from each other. Sometimes, they even come up with ideas that I didn’t think of! I look forward to my continued journey in understanding the younger generation and pushing them to explore, expend their curiosity and gain the confidence to speak up and share it with others.

What do you like to do outside the classroom?

Image of team with President Halimah Yacob
President Halimah Yacob with (from left) Ms Low Tze Hui, Manager, Infocomm Media Development Authority and her son, Thinzar, President of Tiny Thinkers, Candice, Co-Founder of Coding Lab at the at the National Library Board’s kidsREAD 15th anniversary carnival

I really enjoy putting my skills to impact others, whether its youth or kids. I was really grateful for the opportunity to be appointed the President of Tiny Thinkers under Coding Lab. The exposure was invaluable; I had the chance to work closely with the founders themselves (who were my mentors) and the tutors to curate a curriculum at low cost to impact preschoolers, to guiding a team of volunteer teachers in introducing preschoolers to coding fundamentals, to conducting briefings to a 100-strong audience at the National Library of Singapore. The skills I learnt while being in charge of Tiny Thinkers’ core team were invaluable as I used them in organising a virtual career fair under my university CCA.

Furthermore, Tiny Thinkers let me step out of my comfort zone as I had to interact with parents! This increased my self-confidence that allowed me to pursue organising large-scale events that included overseas participants. I am indeed thankful for the opportunities, mentorship and training I received at Coding Lab which helped shaped my mindset and allowed me to grow and gain lifelong skills along the way.

Finally, any words of wisdom for your students?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Just try out new things because that’s how you (and I) learn!

And for your fellow educators?

I would say to be adaptable because while we are trained to teach a syllabus, we will have to modify it on the spot if the students cannot understand your initial way of teaching.

Thank you, Thinzar, for sharing with us about your coding education journey! We’re glad to have you with us on Saturday afternoons as you fruitfully translate your passion and talent for coding into the bright young minds of children ages 4 to 18.

Interested to join the Coding Lab team? Click here to find out more!

Read next: 3 Things I Learnt as an Educator at Coding Lab

(Written by Nicole Loo)


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

Awards (600 x 129)

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

Call us at +65 6528 2282
Email us at learntocode@codinglab.com.sg
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

Today, we would like you to meet Kieran Ho, our student and 1st Place (Python and Electives) at the International Coding Showcase 2020 (JP-SG) and awardee of Most Promising Young Coder at the Young Coders Global Hackathon (YCGH) 2020 Meet the inquisitive and bright, young boy in Secondary One this year.

Hi Kieran, tell us a bit about yourself!

Photo of Kieran, aged 12 and awarded the Most Promising Young Coder
Meet Kieran, aged 13 now, and with two years of coding experience

I turn 13 in July, and I have just started studying at NUS High School of Math and Science. I first got interested in coding when I came to Coding Lab in Primary 5. This led me to choose to attend NUS High as they have a module for computational thinking… and most of my friends are going there as well!

How was your initial coding experience?

When I first realised coding was a thing, I was slightly confused and didn’t really know what it was about. I only knew that you could code games. However, in Primary 2, when my friend said that he was reading a book about coding, I got interested in the topic and decided to find out more. Since then, I was fascinated by coding and after joining Coding Lab, I have deepened my understanding of programming immensely enough that I want it to be a part of my future career.

“Even if it seems hard now, in the future, it will get better and your hard work shall be rewarded!”

What is your favourite coding experience so far?

I really enjoyed participating in YCGH 2020. At the time, it was the largest project I had done, and I worked hard on it. In the end, my hard work paid off! I got a Merit award and got into the Top 5 finalists.

Is there a favourite project or program that you’ve done up?

My favourite project was probably a school administration system that I made using Python in my free time. The school administration program basically stores a list of students and teachers, and you can add students and teachers to the list and remove them as well. It could be used to manage teachers and students who have joined the school. This actually took a few weeks for me to code, which was quite a long time to me back then, as most projects I did back then didn’t really take too long to finish. It was quite fun to make and I really enjoyed it.

Watch Kieran’s International Coding Showcase submission

What would you say to other kids who are starting out coding for the first time now?

I would probably ask them to follow their dreams and to never give up. Even if it seems hard now, in the future, it will get better and your hard work shall be rewarded!

What do you like most about your coding classes?

I like that Coding Lab provides a great atmosphere to learn coding and even make new friends. The lessons are fun and immersive, and in case you need help, experienced coaches will always be by your side.

What do you want to do with coding in the future?

I might get a job that involves coding in some way, or enrol in a computational thinking course. I would definitely continue joining coding competitions, as I think they’re fun and can also help to improve my understanding of coding as a whole. They also teach me several important moral values such as resilience and perseverance.

Catch Kieran in the interview video with our dear students!

Kieran Ho, 13, is a Year One student at NUS High School of Math and Science. He started out with App Inventor when he was 11 years old, and has since quickly breezed through Python. He is brimming with potential, already taking on the Advanced Electives under our S200 series (recommended for ages 13 to 18).

(Written by Nicole Loo)


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

Awards (600 x 129)

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

Call us at +65 6528 2282
Email us at learntocode@codinglab.com.sg
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

My journey at Coding Lab first began about 3 years ago, back in 2018. Fast forward to today, where I’m now teaching the Scratch, App Inventor and Python curricula and occasionally writing blogs in between. I was also given the opportunity to be the Head of Marketing for Tiny Thinkers, Coding Lab’s social initiative for children aged 4-7, where we reached out to thousands of children regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Lakshmi - Nurturing Future Leaders in Technology
Nurturing Future Leaders in Technology

I was just a Year One Business student at the National University of Singapore (NUS), with an interest in technology and community service, when I chanced on the opportunity to teach for the summer holidays. I’m now a proud summer intern of 2018 who returned in 2019, then again in 2020 as part of my NUS Overseas Colleges (NOC) Programme internship.

With my background at NUS Business School, I was offered a dual-track programme at Coding Lab where my job scope involved both marketing and teaching. The variety in my job scope allowed me to challenge myself and hone my creativity while making a difference.

With each internship, I learned new lessons every time. Here are the 3 main lessons that I learnt:

1. There is strength in vulnerability

When I first scored my internship at Coding Lab, I wanted to grasp the opportunity to learn as much as possible! I started off with my tutor training – first with the founder, Yong Ning, then with the Lead Educator Lynn Kiew – where I learned some of the curriculum and tips to teach effectively.

Join Us photo - Adjunct Educators
Students from my very first Python class

My Data Analytics background gave me a strong technical grounding, but I had some doubts about my ability to teach in class. Coding Lab’s comprehensive training, which included small group sessions, learning assessments and role-playing, gave me first-hand experience on how it felt like to be a student too! My mentor, Lynn, also reached out to me to shadow classes and coached me on classroom management so I easily got the hang of it. Whilst I enjoy challenging the faster students, I always make it a point to approach a shy student who seems to be struggling so that I am able to extend a helping hand!

Nevertheless, every week is a new experience with different students. I learnt the most while I was on the job, when I had to think on my feet to adapt and to embrace new ways of teaching. Whenever I was stumped, I would turn to my mentors and fellow interns for advice. I’m so glad that they were always there to listen to me and offer their advice. I slowly learnt that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, and there is nothing wrong with saying that I need help!

2. Communication is key

As a full-time intern by day and a student by night, it was essential that I kept the team in the loop on my timetable and deadlines. It was not easy to juggle my commitments, but I’m glad that I pulled through it and I’m thankful that everyone at Coding Lab helped me to work around it! This was only possible with effective communication.

Interns Lakshmi and Kelvin
A taste-testing session with Kelvin, another intern! (Note: this picture was taken as snacks were being eaten, masks were worn otherwise)

I also learnt the hard way that it is better to clarify my doubts than to let it snowball over time. As an intern involved in both teaching and marketing, I was in constant communication with different mentors. Be it teaching my first App Inventor class or tackling the next blog, I made it a point to ask for feedback from my mentors beforehand, which helped me be fully prepared before class started and also to keep track of my progress.

Building and nurturing relationships with my mentors and fellow colleagues are extremely vital. It allowed me to experience the company culture and made my internship more enjoyable. Moreover, it is fun to get to know my colleagues beyond meetings and projects. I would personally like to thank Yong Ning, Candice, Lynn, Cheryl and the Coding Lab team for helping me through the finals season and my internship!

3. Be yourself!

In my opinion, every experience has a purpose whenever we look back on them. It may not be obvious right now, but remember to not compare your internship with that of your friends. You were chosen for your internship for a reason! Bring your own unique style to your work, and put your best foot forward.

After much trial and error, I now like to personalise my teaching style to fit what my students love (most recently, that has been the game Among Us). It’s especially rewarding and I love it when my students from the entry-level courses pop up in my advanced courses, excitedly greeting me in the first class!

Lakshmi in KAP Room 4 (Van Rossum) with a Thank You card from her student
A Thank You card from my students!

I’ve also learnt that edutech (education technology) is a sector that greatly interests me. Given the recent shift to a digitised economy and the potential impact we can make in the future, I hope to be more involved in this sector as an entrepreneur in the future.

I greatly enjoyed my internships with the team at Coding Lab – and you’ll still see me around in some Saturday classes. I truly love coming back during the holidays to make my impact on and to nurture future leaders in technology from different walks of life. Here’s to more meaningful learning experiences both in and out of the classroom! 🙂

Interested to join the Coding Lab team? Click here to find out more!


Best-in-class Curriculum for Coding

Awards (600 x 129)

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

Call us at +65 6528 2282
Email us at learntocode@codinglab.com.sg
Chat with us via WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger

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?

Edmund Feature 2
Edmund, always cheerful!

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.

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?

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

Before I joined Coding Lab, 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. 🙂

When I became an Educator, it greatly 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!

I always try my best to 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!

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

GIF of our Young Computer Scientists doing some deskercise - with grandpa joining in the fun!
Edmund and our Young Computer Scientists doing some deskercise – with grandpa joining in the fun!

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.

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 know you will continue to inspire our future generation of coders and be the role model that you already are, as a teacher, mentor, and more!

(Written by Nicole Loo)

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

We’re proud to be featured in The Straits Times today! In Singapore’s English flagship newspaper, we shared our experience and thoughts on bridging the gender gap in the area of STEM.

“Given the right environment, girls can realise their potential,” our Director, Candice Wang, says. She is also a proud mother in the STEM field whose daughter attends weekly classes at Coding Lab.

The Straits Times feature - Gender gap in Stem sector: Support from parents is crucial to help girls excel
A snippet of our feature on The Straits Times (9 February 2021, Monday, LIFE)

“Given the right environment, girls can realise their potential,”

Candice Wang, Director of Coding Lab

Read the full article here.

Did you know that at Coding Lab, we ensure a gender-neutral environment to encourage students of all genders and ages to code? Some examples of how we do so include:

  • Showcasing a good mix of projects by girls and boys
  • Building programs, games and animations around students’ favourite cartoons and topics (eg. Disney shows and princesses)
  • Gender-neutral questions and exercises

Read our previous features: We’re on The Straits Times!

Our superstar coder and University of Texas (Austin) scholarship recipient, Sarah Go, is also featured! She talks about her experience as a female in STEM and how her parents and environment has helped her to excel. Read her blog features here and here.


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