Has your child started on their coding journey yet? How’s it coming along so far? In this #CodingLabParenting series, our tutors gather their top tips for you on how you can guide your child towards better learning!
We want to partner with you to ensure that your child’s learning experiences are the best they can be – especially if it’s coding.
From tips for meaningful learning to motivating, progression of knowledge and skills, and more… our students ultimately stay calm, code on and most importantly, have fun on their coding journey!
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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.
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
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.
Remember Tiny Thinkers and their creative, fun ways to integrate computational thinking into your child’s everyday lives? Well good news, they’re back stronger than ever with new and improved activities rolled out – Now extending their outreach not just to parents, but also formal early childhood institutions island-wide, with over 3,500 kits!
Early last month, the Tiny Thinkers team was invited down to the annual Early Childhood Conference (ECC)2019 to share about the importance of computational thinking at the pre-school level. Amongst an array of activities at the ECC exhibition fair, Tiny Thinkers also conducted workshops for mums and dads to try out their exciting games with their children.
During the first half of the conference, IMDA Deputy Director Foo Hui Hui shared with early childhood educators on how preschools could step up and prepare young children to be future-ready with the award-winning Play Maker programme.
IMDA Deputy Director Hui Hui demonstrating one of their educational games
Coding Lab, the team behind Tiny Thinkers, then followed up with an informational sharing on the importance of computational thinking in today’s tech-led economy and how to kickstart its development within the comforts of the home in a simple, fun manner.
Coding Lab Co-founder Candice Wang also highlighted the shift in our economy towards one that is driven by Artificial Intelligence (A.I), algorithms and automation, urging educators and parents alike to start to prepare themselves from an early age.
Coding Lab co-Founder Candice Wang stressing the importance of starting young
She then went to share some market research findings, which illustrated that whilst more than 60% of the parents surveyed acknowledged the importance of learning coding, an alarming 95% do not have the knowledge or expertise to impart computational thinking skills to their children.
Candice then debunked the elusiveness of computational thinking with two simple ways to guide young learners aged 4 to 7 – through every-day activities (eg. Packing your schoolbag) that require little or no cost, and through the Tiny Thinkers Take Home Activity Kit.
Armed with the expertise of our tutors and Skool4Kidz on one hand and generous support from IMDA, Our SG Fund, Nexus, and Amazon on the other, Coding Lab and Tiny Thinkers is pleased to present new games such as Solve the Puzzle (Pattern Recognition), Build a House (Abstraction) and a full-fledged board-game (Keeping Singapore Strong) in their well-received Take Home Activity Kit.
Educators trying out the Tiny Thinkers activities
On the 2nd day of the ECC exhibition, the Tiny Thinkers team carried out a series of workshops for parents to try out 3 of their games (Robotibby, Solve The Puzzle, Build a House) and take home the Activity Kit for free!
Thinzar, the Head of Tiny Thinkers sharing about the importance of Computational Thinking
Kids figuring out how to bring Tibby to the banana
Putting their pattern recognition skills to the test
Building houses with shapes
So exciting, don’t you think? We at the Coding Lab, Tiny Thinkers, educators, parents and children alike all had so much fun! Stay tuned for more goodies and future workshops held by Tiny Thinkers by following them here.
Thank you Capital 95.8FM for having us over to talk about Singapore’s digital landscape! With the rolling out of mandatory coding classes for upper primary students and Digital Clinics for Seniors, we shared our insights on these new initiatives and the general public’s response to the government’s efforts in bid of a SmartNation.
As the interview was conducted in Mandarin, we present to you the translated radio transcript in English for easy reading below:
DJ Lingzhi: We are headed towards our goal as a SmartNation. The government is encouraging all citizens – young and old – to set forth this digital path, and many SMEs are also jumping on the digital bandwagon. Prospective Primary 4 to 6 students are now required to learn computational thinking, with mandatory coding classes pushed out from next year onwards. And as for secondary and tertiary students, 10 000 of them will get hold of the opportunities to learn cybersecurity skills and access relevant jobs. The old are not left behind either – Digital Clinics for Seniors are held islandwide to provide 1-to-1 help on basic digital skills such as using smartphones and its associated functions. PMETs are encouraged to volunteer for such activities at our local libraries and help the nation advance digitally, together as one. How exciting is that? If you have a child currently in school, do call and share with us your thoughts on these new policies.
DJ Lingzhi: In today’s digital age, what is the most valuable skill to learn? Have you caught up? On a global scale, how does Singapore rank? Are we keeping up with other advanced countries?
We’ve invited two experts in the field for today’s discussion – Foo Yong Ning, founder of educational centre Coding Lab, and Teow-Hin, NUS Computing professor and CEO of SecureAge Technology.
DJ Lingzhi: What are your opinions on Singapore’s digital landscape?
Teow-Hin: Currently, Singapore is a little behind in the schools’ aspect because they do not really go into the specifics in teaching students how to code, which to me is a fundamental skill.
If you do not understand how to code, you will only have a surface-level understanding of computers.
DJ LuLin: Coding is a very complicated thing to me. I first learned to code through a course in secondary school – we used a language called QBasic. I felt that it was very difficult and gave up after 3 months of classes. I felt that it wasn’t necessary to learn these since I’m not going to be developing software myself in the future. Why do I have to learn when I can just know how to use the software?
Teow-Hin: To put it another way, coding is like learning to type. It’s a basic skill of the digital future. Many kinds of jobs require some coding knowledge, and this is increasingly so as we move further down the digital path. Henceforth, if you are unfamiliar with coding, you may face difficulties in the workplace and in general.
DJ Lingzhi: Since a main function of education is to groom future talents for the workforce, having exposure to coding from primary school is particularly crucial in the digital age. While it is commendable that we are starting compulsory 10-hour enrichment classes for upper primary students, let’s hear it from Coding Lab on whether it’s sufficient for establishing a foundation in coding.
Yong Ning: I feel that 10-hours is very short. If you want to master coding, you would definitely require much more time. These 10 hours of classes are more to expose the students to the field. For example, it takes 4 long years for university graduates to attain a strong foundation in programming. Mastering coding within a 10-hour-long enrichment course is not very realistic.
DJ Lingzhi: Yes, it’s a good start for more kids to gain access to the wonders of coding, cultivate an interest in the field, and perhaps even sign up for more classes in the future.
DJ Lingzhi: So Coding Lab, you seem to be ahead of the game, with coding classes since 4 years ago?
Yong Ning: We can be considered so in Singapore, though other countries are definitely way more ahead.
DJ Lingzhi: Do Singapore parents actually send their kids to coding classes?
Yong Ning: Yes of course. More parents are recognising the importance of coding and computational thinking. We don’t learn math or science to only become mathematicians or scientists. Likewise, the benefits of learning to code, particularly computational thinking, extends beyond computers and will give your child an edge over others in the future. Computational thinking is all around us – For example, they are present in business processes. They are also used in finance, where computer programs revolutionize methods of calculation and management. There is also algorithmic trading…
DJ Lingzhi: How about the ordinary folk who live ordinary lives and do ordinary work? How relevant is coding in our everyday lives?
Teow-Hin: In my opinion, if you have some understanding of coding, you would see start to things in a new perspective. You’ll think, can this task be automated? Can we computerize these operations? Not only does this help businesses to maximise efficiency, but it also helps reduce the need for manpower. This doesn’t only apply to entrepreneurs – it’s good for any worker to know. You increase your productivity, get higher pay, apply for vacations…
DJ Lingzhi: Hahaha yes. We’re very happy to have with us Coding Lab and CEO Professor Teow Hin. We’ll be going for a short break and will be right back.
DJ Lingzhi: Dear parents, if you are still mulling over what career path you should pave for your kids, our SecureAge CEO may have important news to share with you. We all know that to be a doctor or lawyer, one must attain straight As and surpass strict requirements. However, in today’s day and age, there is an up and rising new field which also requires straight As. May the CEO please share with us.
Teow-Hin: Yes, in today’s circumstances, if you have no straight As, it would be difficult to get into computer science courses in universities like NUS. One main reason is that the pay for computer science graduates is very high – even higher than lawyers, though still lower than doctors. It’s already higher than a lot of fields. So from a student’s perspective, if you want to earn a lot of money after graduation, it’s good to go down the programming path. But most importantly, you really need to have an interest. If you don’t have the interest, it will be very tiresome and difficult. If you have the interest, coding is just like playing computer games. It’s very fun. It’s like playing computer games and earning a lot of money at the same time. Why not?
DJ Lingzhi: Haha I bet a lot of parents listening to this are thinking: My child keeps playing computer games instead of studying. So computer games are actually like a foundation for coding? Wow!
DJ LuLin: Recently I’ve been noticing that a lot of programmers working here are actually foreign talents. Is the government also hoping to cultivate locally bred talents by increasing the general population’s access to coding? Is the coding curriculum in schools enough? Are people really interested in coding?
Teow-Hin: For the past few years, the MOE has been pressuring universities to increase university intake, which has now increased by leaps and bounds. Looking at it from a macro perspective, the demand for the I.T field is increasing because, after all, our world is increasingly digitalised. Everything requires programming, and as more and more things become automated, naturally we would require more programmers. It’s that simple!
DJ Lingzhi: Will there ever be a problem of obsolescence, with the speed at which technology is advancing? Will the languages graduates learn in university become obsolete after 4 years?
Will university students go through 4 years of studying, only to realise after graduation that the languages they’ve learned are obsolete?
Teow-Hin: No because as mentioned previously, once you’ve learned a coding language, you’ll find it easier to pick up other languages. So this learned skill will never become obsolete.
DJ Lingzhi: Yes, we always emphasize lifelong learning. You don’t stop learning even in the working world. I feel that it’s good for children to start young and establish a foundation early. So is it considered late if we only begin coding at 7 years old? Can 5 years old children code too?
Yong Ning: We accept kids as young as 4 to start learning code. Different age groups learn different concepts and content.
DJ Lingzhi: So what do 4-year-old students learn?
Yong Ning: What’s most important about coding is computational thinking. It’s basically logical thinking. At the preschool level, students mainly learn how to give instructions. Because after all, coding is about giving computers instructions clearly. At the primary school level, 7 to 12-year-olds would move on to using drag and drop block-based programming platforms such as Scratch to master computational thinking.
DJ Lingzhi: Do you need to be particularly gifted to learn to code? How long does it take, let’s say, an ordinary kid to learn to program an app or simple game? Is it a long, arduous process?
Yong Ning: 20 hours of lessons is sufficient for kids to create their own simple program and/or games, using intuitive, child-friendly platforms such as Scratch and MIT App Inventor.
DJ Lingzhi: So 10, 20 hours is actually sufficient to learn how to program simple games?
Yong Ning: Yes very simple apps and games, not those that you find on the market haha. These kind of platforms are more for them to master computational thinking in a fun and engaging way.
DJ Lingzhi: Yeah if kids could learn to code within just 10 hours, NUS graduates wouldn’t need to study for 4 years. Hahaha. It seems like secondary and tertiary school students are also starting to touch on network security-related subjects too. Let’s have the CEO share with us more about this topic.
Teow-Hin: Yes, everyone should learn about cybersecurity. In an age where everything is digitalized, any information can be hacked and easily retrieved – one can be at risk of financial losses and damage of reputation. Hence cybersecurity is just as important as coding in this digital economy. We should all have at least a basic understanding of cybersecurity so we won’t fall for traps laid by hackers.
DJ Lingzhi: All the elders tuning into this talk show may be thinking, “I’m already so old, why must I still learn about cybersecurity and coding?” As we move towards the goal of a SmartNation, we can’t leave anyone behind; we must move forward together. That’s why we have nation-wide Digital Clinics set up for elders to receive 1-to-1 guidance from technology experts. Everyone should have an interest, and the elderly are no exception.
Teow-Hin: If you use the internet, the phone, the computer on a daily basis, you are already participating in the digital economy.
DJ LuLin: Yes, I meet a lot of elders who are very wary of the internet. My mother doesn’t even dare to use the QR code scanner. She thinks that if she scans the code, her bank money will get swallowed away. Hahaha.
Teow-Hin: There are two different extremes. On one hand of the spectrum are those who do not use computers and are strangers to cybersecurity. On the other hand are those who are very familiar with technology, so familiar to the point that they fear hackers because they know how powerful hackers can be.
DJ Lingzhi: So as we come to the end of today’s programme, let’s give the parents a few tips. Is there really a need to send their kids to learn to code at age 7? How important is it? Should it be encouraged?
Yong Ning: Learning to code from age 7 is very beneficial. Look at Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg – they, too, started learning to code since young. More and more parents are hopping onto the digital bandwagon, sending their kids for coding classes so as to not lose out.
Teow-Hin: It’s a very good start for students to be able to attend coding lessons. If everyone has some basic understanding of coding, they can see things from a digital perspective, and use them to solve problems. This will definitely benefit their future development.
DJ Lingzhi: One of our listeners (46-year-old!) says that they’re going to attend R and Python programming classes. Seems like we all need to start taking action… I am going to start attending lessons too hahaha. Once again, thank you Secure Age CEO NUS Professor and Coding Lab Founder Foo Yong Ning for today!
Thank you Channel 8 News for the 2 June news feature! Did you catch us? If you haven’t, here’s a clip of the news feature.
At Coding Lab, we are proud to be at the forefront of nurturing the future generation of digital creators and leaders.
Scroll down to read what went on in the interview.
With increasing interest in application development and the like, Singaporeans are now flocking towards coding enrichment centres and learning to code at an early age.
Dylan in the midst of a Python lesson
At just the age of 12, Dylan is already adept with professional coding language Python to program simple math games. “We want Dylan well-equipped with the appropriate skill sets to succeed in life. Programming and IT appears to be an area of growth and career opportunity for the future,” said the student’s mother.
Most careers are associated with programming
Dylan and his parents are not alone in anticipation of an imminent Smart Nation. The fascination with technology continues, with an increased spotlight on coding, application development, and the like. Not only are children picking up coding at progressively younger ages, universities are also expanding admissions quota for relevant IT courses.
A simple mathematical game coded by Dylan
Cue Coding Lab, one of the pioneer coding educational centres since 2013. In just 2 years, student subscription at the centre has increased five times. There, kids as young as 4 start acquainting themselves with coding, or computational thinking in a fun and novel manner. One of their many ways to bridge coding with hands-on play include building a digital piano program, which encompasses electric circuits, music and computational thinking.
Student intake has increased 5 times within just 2 years
Said educator Ms Liu, “More and more parents are realising the importance of coding. It’s not just about teaching kids to code, but also about training their computational thinking and problem solving skills.”
More parents are starting to realise the importance of coding today
That way, transitioning to more complex coding in the near future will be much easier.
Last month, we were delighted to have lunch with Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and the team from Tiny Thinkers. We were very honoured to be praised for our efforts and expertise in bringing computational thinking to the masses, regardless of economic background. As firm believers in giving back, we are absolutely thrilled to have been recognised by Minister Balakrishnan for complementing Singapore’s pursuits of a SmartNation. Indeed, here at Coding Lab, we believe that computational thinking should be accessible to everyone, including very young children.
When we first got to know Dylan, he was still in Primary school. At 11, he had already written programming solutions to problems that students typically encounter at the Pre-U level. Our team details his journey with us, through his days in River Valley Primary to his current school, NUS High.
Coding Lab: Hi Dylan! Tell us about yourself. How did you get started with Coding?
Dylan: My mum noticed my interest in solving maths problems and suggested that I learn coding as it is similar in nature as it uses logic to solve problems. She also bought some books for me to read for a start, to see if I have interest to learn coding.
Dylan’s parents: As parents, we always want the best for our children. Programming/coding seems to be an area of growth & career opportunity for the future; hence we want Dylan to be well-equipped with the right skill set to succeed in his life/career. Of course, he needs to have an interest in order to be able to do well. Fortunately, his interest in Math since young has helped him pick up coding quickly, and he liked it from the onset.
Meet Dylan, 11, Python whiz
Coding Lab: How is your experience learning Coding so far?
Dylan: I enjoy Coding Lab lessons a lot. The small class size allows me to ask questions freely and interact with the teacher. This is especially useful because I am able to tackle the mental obstacles quickly when I am coding.
Coding Lab: What do you like most about coding?
Dylan: I find coding very systematic in approach and very challenging to the mind. In a way, it is similar to solving math problems. I find that it does in some ways help me in solving math problems at school.
Dylan’s Parents: It could be too early to tell if coding helps in his daily life, but it definitely helps train his mind to be more systematic in thinking. This mental training does help him in solving difficult Maths problems.
The process of building the code is fun because it makes me think & approach the problem systemically and to apply logic to the process.
Dylan and his mum featured on Channel 8 news
Coding Lab: Tell us about a favourite program you have written.
Dylan: I wrote a “Coins-sum” program. When I input a figure into the program, it will generate the number of ways that the figure can be divided by, based on our Singapore dollar denomination. I like it because it is useful. Creating the program requires me to put an if-loop within a while-loop. The process of building the code is fun because it makes me think & approach the problem systemically & to apply logic to the process.
Dylan’s Coin Sum Program
Coding Lab: Do you think that learning to Code has helped you at school?
Dylan: My favourite subject at school is Maths. I find that Coding helps train the mind to be logical & systematic, both traits are useful in the application of Maths.
Coding Lab: What else do you do in your spare time (apart from coding!)?
Dylan: My hobbies are playing computer games & reading books on history & war. I also like to play Badminton & Carom.
Dylan, 11, studied at River Valley Primary School. He started off with Python 1 (S101) in 2018 and had completed Python 2 S111 at the time this article was written. He has enrolled in NUS High since 2020.
Surya Nayar, 14, is no ordinary student. At his young age, he can count Python and C++ programming skills under his belt. This savvy student wrote his own stock rating algorithm after attending a Masterclass on Data Analytics with us. Here, he shares with us his journey in programming:
Q: What gave you the idea for this program?
I got the idea a few years back when a friend of my parents was showing me the software he used to trade stocks. That got me thinking about whether the software could eventually replace human traders and deliver profits. So I started researching algorithmic trading (the process whereby the computer executes trades on its own) and familiarizing myself with stock markets in general. I also read up about Fintech (financial technology) to explore was already commercially available.
In December 2018, I signed up for the Data Analytics workshop at Coding Lab, knowing its relevance in the real world. At the workshop, I saw how sentiment analysis of tweets and newspaper headlines could give me a good overview of what people, or the market, felt about a particular company’s stock prices, thus giving me a new idea about how to go about the program, albeit at a rudimentary level.
I signed up for the Data Analytics workshop at Coding Lab, knowing its relevance in the real world.
Q: What were some considerations you had to factor in when making this program?
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, was my experience (or rather, lack of it). I had used Python in the past to develop programs, but I had never developed anything in this vein. This really affected what I was able to do with my code – I could not, for example, execute real transactions or forecast whether the stock price is going to go up or down. All I could do was analyze the sentiment about a company’s stocks at one point of time and try to advise the program’s user accordingly – but even this was not perfected. Knowing that I was inexperienced made me avoid making things too complicated, and also allowed me to be realistic with myself regarding my program’s abilities.
Another consideration was the time frame. The workshop only lasted for five days, and I had to complete the program within that time frame. This was quite a tight timeframe, so I practiced during and outside of the workshop, manipulating characters in the code we were given to see what effect it would have on the overall program, and writing more code to complete the program. With the time limit hovering over me, I really couldn’t do much else, or else I would risk having an incomplete program. This time constraint put things into perspective in terms of what I could and could not do.
Q: What were some challenges you faced when developing the program?
I didn’t face many challenges when developing the program, except for some parts of the debugging process. Debugging is the process of locating errors in and rectifying your code after the program fails to execute what it is supposed to. When I was writing my own code, I frequently encountered errors with the for loops I was using, but after debugging, these were minor imperfections which I got rid of efficiently – so I wasn’t too frustrated.
As a coder, I submit to debugging as a compulsory ritual one must perform, in order for the code to be truly perfect.
Q: How did your Coding Lab mentors guide you for this project?
For this project, my mentor was Ms. Mona Tan. She helped in almost every way possible. She taught me how to use sentiment analysis on tweets and news articles, which was indispensable for my project. A lot of the code that I ended up using in my program was partially borrowed from what she wrote, including the names of the variables. She was always ready and willing to help whenever I faced a problem, such as debugging long-winded or inefficient code, my occasionally-shaky understanding of the material covered in the workshop – I deeply appreciate her constant support. Lastly, since I was unable to get approval as a Twitter developer in time for the workshop, I ended up using her authorization keys in order to access developer features in Twitter – a pre-requisite for the project, without which I wouldn’t be here answering these questions.
My vision is to be as complete as possible, with a graphical user interface (GUI) and full forecasting. I also want to draw on real-life market data and use machine learning to predict stock price behavior.
Q: Are you working on any other projects/programs in the meantime?
For a start, I’m working to evolve the project that I developed in the workshop – My vision is to be as complete as possible, with a graphical user interface (GUI) and full forecasting. I also want to draw on real-life market data and use machine learning to predict stock price behavior. Additionally, I want to implement a feature where the program could scrape the web and build a database of events which may cause stock prices to rise or fall – for example, when Apple announces a new iPhone in September, the program should know that stock prices are likely to rise and use that information to better advise users.
For general programming, – to be honest – I haven’t done as much as I had hoped to this year. I got into competitive programming relatively recently and I go for classes at Coding Lab for the National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI). During the classes, I solve as many problems as I can, but as the problems get harder, it takes a longer time for me to solve them, so I end up doing much less than I intended to. Outside of class, I don’t code much, but I plan to finish reading my book on data structures and algorithms, during my upcoming holiday in India. I have created accounts on multiple competitive programming websites such as TopCoder, CodeForces, CodeChef and dunjudge.me. In 2019, I am really hoping to up my programming game.
Q: What advice would you give to young coders who are new to coding?
#1: Start off simple and aim small. You don’t have to know how to make an entire game, full of spaceships and complex 3D objects right at the start. My first ever program was in Scratch, and it was quite simply a game where you pressed the right arrow multiple times to move a car up a mountain – That was it! A lot of young coders are ambitious, which is good, but it also means that they tend to set unrealistic expectations of themselves and what they can achieve. If you start off simple and work step by step, you’re much less likely to be disheartened earlier on. This doesn’t, however, mean that you shouldn’t challenge yourself – just don’t bite off more than you can chew. One of the biggest shocks for me as a beginning ‘coder’ was in 2017, when I was unable to code a simple program that identified prime numbers and non-prime numbers despite me having ‘coded’ for the last few years. Later on, I realized it was because I was aiming so high initially, that I never got around to solving simpler, more real problems.
There is no such thing as perfection in coding – your code can always be made cleaner, more efficient, or just better – but as you code more and more, you’ll eventually realize how the same problem can be solved in an even better manner, and you can get as near to perfection as possible.
#2: Practice as much as you can. Coding is built on practice and repetition. It’s a muscle, and like all other muscles, it must be trained for it to grow. Nobody can become Mark Zuckerberg without coding dozens of horrible websites first and then eventually coding Facebook. It doesn’t matter if you’re wrong, but you should correct yourself quickly and make a note to yourself not to repeat the same mistakes. There is no such thing as perfection in coding – your code can always be made cleaner, more efficient, or just better – but as you code more and more, you’ll eventually realize how the same problem can be solved in an even better manner, and you can get as near to perfection as possible. As an example: When one learns sorting, one usually starts with the easy-to-understand bubble sort (which, however, is a rather slow and inefficient algorithm that sorts numbers) – as your understanding evolves, you understand more complex and efficient sorting algorithms, such as merge sort.
Surya, 14, is a student at Raffles Institution. He started off with our basic Python (S101) course in 2017 and has since progressed to S121 and C++ programming.
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.
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.
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.
Innovfest unbound: The anchor event of Smart Nation Innovations; a week-long series of events that showcase Asia’s most innovative developments. It is a platform for entrepreneurs, brands, corporates, investors and tech start-ups from all around the world to meet and share ideas, build partnerships and celebrate digital disruption.
Our intern had the opportunity to gain first-class insights into innovfest unbound, and here she lists 5 things that you absolutely have to know if you missed the highlight event:
Number 1: Tencent may take over the world (literally)
We all know what WeChat is but fewer of us know that WeChat’s parent company is actually Tencent. WeChat is but Tencent’s latest success. Steven Chang, the CVP of Tencent introduced the concept of building an ecosystem that targets at what a consumer does daily in order to meet their needs. This requires intensive studying of the consumer. This is also how WeChat, which started off as just a social media platform, is now an app that people cannot live without in China. Steven also revealed the next big thing for Tencent is ABC. A for AI, B for Big Data and C for Cloud. They have already started their initiatives such as the building of smart cities, revamping retail to be smarter and AI in the medical field. Learn the fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence right here and now!
Number 2: It’s all about the Consumer, the Customers, and the Market
The common theme that keeps coming up in the talks by successful businesses is their focal point on their consumers or customers. LINE music talked about understanding of the Japanese consumers to discover what they like and implement that function. Netflix talked about the importance of listening to the market in order to adapt to changes. Consumer power is rapidly growing in our digital era and they hold great importance to how businesses dictate their direction today. It is about crafting that experience for customers in order to grow and sustain the business.
Number 3: Optimization. Automation. Machine Learning. What now?
The venture capitalist judges of the Unilever Pitch Challenge pose a critical question for the pitcher and the floor. “Yes, you have optimized and automated this process. So what differentiates you from the rest of the pitchers who have said similar things?” In a few years’ time, I reckon that automation and optimisation are going to be the next must-haves for businesses and that they will no longer be unique selling points. So how do businesses differentiate themselves from their competitors and be different? This brings us to our next point:
Number 4: Brand Storytelling
Coca Cola, Intel and Circles.Life shared about the essential point of storytelling and that is what brands are built upon. Every brand has its own story and building it requires 3 ‘C’s: Context, Content, and Creativity. It is to showcase your point-of-view but more importantly, for consumers to interact and resonate with. This intangible aspect may be hard to quantify in a business. However, decisions are made with emotions, no matter how much logic we put into them. Hence, businesses need to create timely and creative content to deliver to their customers.
Number 5: Don’t be a Doctor, Be a Computer Scientist
The world has grown to become one that cannot function without technology. Lai Chang Wen, founder of Ninja Van joked about future careers for Asian parents to nag their children about; instead of being a doctor, be a computer scientist instead. This shows the equivalence in prestige and demand that a computer scientist has with a doctor, in the Asian context. Kickstart your journey to be a Computer Scientist with the versatile Python language.
Final Takeaway: We need to rise up as a generation that utilises technology to aid our daily lives and solve world problems. The importance of programming and coding is irrefutable. We must aim to be at the forefront of this technological era.
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