Today, we have our Lead Educator, Ms Mona Tan, with us to share why coding is the new literacy and why it is critical for parents to start their children on it. Mona is an experienced educator who caters the class according to the needs of her students. 
 
Q. Tell us about yourself! 
I graduated from NUS Science with a major in Statistics and a minor in Computer Science. But really, I spent way more time in the School of Computing as opposed to the Faculty of Science.
 
Q. What are your hobbies?
I play computer games. A lot of computer games. In fact that’s mostly why I like computers.
 
IMG_2646
Mona the tinkerer working her magic on the school’s laptop 

 

Q. How did you get started, teaching kids coding?
I first started teaching robotics and math, during my pre-university days. I later got an internship to teach coding at an education startup, and from then on I fell in love with teaching coding to kids.
 
Q. What keeps you going? Why do you enjoy teaching kids?
Teaching, in my opinion is one of the most important jobs around. Why? Because we nurture the next generation. We inspire children not just academically, but also on a personal level. Nothing beats the satisfaction of knowing that students look up to me as a role model. 
 

“We nurture the next generation. We inspire children not just academically, but also on a personal level.” 

 
Q. Why do you think kids should learn coding?
We live in a complicated world. Being able to understand how computers works helps kids to understand complexity and learn how to manage it. Coding does not just apply to computers, the logic that goes on behind it can be applied to many situations in life.
 
Q. If a child is talented and passionate in programming, how will this help him in his everyday life, school, or future career?
Programming is an essential skill in today’s society. Everything we do is largely driven by technology. From the social media apps we use, to work efficiency tools, every aspect of our life is intertwined with technology. Knowing exactly how technology works and how to create technology provides an edge in a competitive society.
 
“Knowing exactly how technology works and how to create technology provides an edge in a competitive society.”
 
Q. Tell us about how a typical coding class would look like.
There’s no one-size-fits-all “typical” coding class, it all depends on the students and their learning needs. Given a small class size, each class differs depending on the students that are in it. It is important that every student feels comfortable in class so that they can get the most out of each lesson. 

 

IMG_0441 (2)Putting on their thinking caps

 

Q. If I walked into your classroom during a lesson, what would I see and hear?
A whole lot of learning, interaction, laughter and fun. 
 
Q. In your opinion, what is the most important takeaway for kids from Coding class?
The most important takeaway is learning how to manage complexity.
 
Q. Describe a bit more about what you teach. If I had 2 kids, one 8 and one 14, what would they learn and how would it be age-appropriate?

For the 8 year old, I would recommend Scratch if the kid has never done programming before. Scratch is a user-friendly interface that teaches kids how to think like a computer without the messy syntax that goes on behind the scenes.

For the 14 year old, I would recommend Python as it’s a powerful real world computer language and it will enable the kid to go deeper into computing concepts to understand more complex algorithms.

 

IMG_0460Bright smiles after completing the class with Ms Mona
 
Mona is our lead educator who delights in translating her passion and talent for coding into the bright young minds of children. 

S.M. Computational Engineering, MIT
B.Eng. Elec. Engineering (First-Class), NUS
Director (Asia-Pacific), Danaher
Six-Sigma Black Belt, Caterpillar
R2 Technologies (Hologic), Silicon Valley


Yong Ning graduated with a Masters in Computation for Design and Optimisation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under a full scholarship and spent a year working in a technology startup in Silicon Valley prior to returning to Singapore, where he was born and grew up in.

With his strong background in Mathematics and Programming, his key expertise lies in developing and applying analytics to ensure sound business decisions.

Rapidly rising through the ranks and previously a Regional (Asia-Pacific) Director with a US multinational, he realised how big a part his coding knowledge helped in advancing his career. He continues to do programming in his free time as a hobby and founded Coding Lab®. He is a highly sought-after expert and his work with children has been featured on Lianhe Zaobao. He has also been called upon as a consultant with various parenting magazines and is regularly invited to share his views at parenting talks and seminars.

M.A. Fine Arts in Creative Writing and English, University of Massachusetts
B.S. Computer Science, University of Massachusetts
Microsoft (Japan)
University of Massachusetts (USA)


Brian was a software engineer at Microsoft for 10 years. He has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, a minor in Mathematics, and a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and English from the University of Massachusetts.

He taught for 3 years at the University of Massachusetts and has shipped numerous software projects at Microsoft ranging from operating systems, desktop applications, and mobile applications.

He now combines his passion for coding, technology, and teaching to help young kids discover the joys of coding.

M.S. Computational Finance, Carnegie Mellon
B.Sc. Computer Science (First-Class), NUS
VP, Credit Suisse, New York (USA)
Developer, EllieMae (Silicon Valley)


Li Jia had his first encounter with coding on an Apple II at the age of 5 and the rest, as they say, is History.

Moving on to Secondary school where he had loads of fun writing programs to solve various math problems, he credits his early brush with coding to having led him to where he is today, as a VP with one of the world’s leading investment banks, with more than 10 years of experience in the development of stocks and options trading software.

His hobbies revolve around coding and hardware, many of which are adapted into our coding classes for kids. His latest coding hobby (on top of his intensely game-changing work projects) involves building his home surveillance system – using Raspberry Pi.

Currently based in New York, Li Jia holds a Master of Science in Computational Finance from Carnegie Mellon University.

B.Comp. Computer Engineering (Hons), NUS
Microsoft (Japan)

LinkedIn (Silicon Valley)


With his extensive experience in agile software, web and game development platforms, Julius has been developing and shipping software for Microsoft Office, Kinect and Hololens for the last 10 years.

As a native speaker of English and Mandarin and being professionally fluent in Japanese, he has worked with teams across different parts of the world, including Singapore, Redmond, Seattle and Tokyo.

Currently based in Japan as a Senior Software Engineer with Microsoft, his recent activities include the development of Docs.com and Office Lens, as well as Microsoft’s next generation presentation platform, Sway.com.

Julius’ passion lies in bringing the frontier of innovation to young children, with the aim of demystifying today’s technology to enable them to become inventors of tomorrow’s reality.

B.Sc. Life Sciences, NUS
Minor in Scientific Computation, Multimedia and Communications
GlaxoSmithKline

A*STAR


Candice’s experience in Sales and Marketing spans across various Fortune 100 Pharmaceutical and FMCG companies. She enjoys translating her corporate experience into an organisation that impacts children and strongly believes that programming is a must-have skill in today’s economy.

Having first discovered her passion for teaching children when she taught IT classes to lower secondary students at her Alma mater, CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School, she is excited to do her part in shaping the education of kids in the 21st Century.

As a mother to 2 young ones, she can’t wait to introduce them to the world of coding and has already started them on tinkering with the latest tech (toddler-friendly) gadgets.

Principal, Agape Centre for Excellence (Perth)
Consultant, Internet Training (STA)
B.Acc. Accounting
Minor, Law & Finance


The Principal and Founder of Agape Centre for Excellence in Perth and the education partner for Coding Lab, Lisa has extensive experience in the education arena, running a premium enrichment centre for kids.

She found her calling in Education, especially in the area of technology back in 1995 when she founded Paideia (now defunct), a pioneer in Internet training services. As the appointed consultant to the Singapore Telecoms Academy (1995 – 1997), the company received numerous awards for best website conceptualisation and design.

Her passion is to make a difference especially with children, as they are the leaders of tomorrow. Having a child herself, she understands the needs of school going children and wants to empower them with the academic, social and emotional skills to help them reach their fullest potential.

B.Sc. Statistics, NUS
Minor in Computing
NUS High School
Two-time Winner, Singapore VEX Robotics Championships (SILVER) 


Mona’s love for all things tech began when her parents brought home a Macintosh when she was 3. She started playing computer games and fell in love with technology. Her interests in technology extend beyond software, and you can often find her taking apart hardware to take a look at what’s inside.

A self-confessed tech geek who has done and taught robotics for almost a decade, Mona started her teaching career right after she graduated from the prestigious NUS High School, teaching robotics and various other math and science subjects. She was also part of the team of the NUS High Robotics Club which won twice at the Singapore VEX Robotics Championships (Silver).

Mona holds a Bachelor of Science (Statistics) with a minor in Computing from the National University of Singapore. She delights in translating her passion and talent for coding into the bright young minds of children, hoping that many, like her, will discover the joys of STEM learning and go on to build and create their favourite things. She firmly believes that computer literacy is the language of the future and that everyone should at least give it a try.

B.Comp. Computer Science (Hons), NUS
Professional Dota 2 Gamer, Singapore

e27, NUS Overseas Colleges (Singapore)


Currently pursuing professional gaming after a long hiatus, Brandon not only intends to play games for a living but also train the next generation of eSports athletes in Singapore. He isn’t just good at the game; He actually makes money out of it. That never fails to spark the interest of kids aspiring to be the next David Beckham or Michael Jordan of the virtual world.

Apart from laying his online opponents to waste, Brandon also takes great pleasure in solving complex real-world problems with the power of programming. Having graduated from NUS with a Bachelor of Computer Science, Brandon firmly believes that technology and education is a necessary marriage for the future of Singaporeans to be bright. He is passionate about changing the world one child at a time.

B.Comp. Computer Science (Hons), NUS
Finalist, IOT Datathon 2017

NUS Overseas Colleges (Singapore)


Yilun loves programming and its endless possibility to create. He firmly believes in making lives better with technology. With his skills in programming, he created widgets and applications that can help his friends and college with their daily tasks. He was also part of the team of finalists in the IOT Datathon 2017, held annually by the NUS Science faculty.

Yilun enjoys working with children, and has experience in teaching children since Junior College, where he mentored multiple primary school children weekly. He believes that with the right teaching, every child can learn to code.