Hi! This is my first blog. I am so excited to be able to engage you. In this blog, I would like to share with you how Coding Lab got started.

“Let’s teach kids to code”, TED talk

I have the habit of watching TED videos on my morning drive to work (a habit I started to deal with my frustration of being robbed of my otherwise productive time by traffic jams) and I saw the video “Let’s teach kids to code” by Mitch Resnick of MIT Media Lab.

I first started coding in university as part of the curriculum and had enjoyed coding ever since – be it simple VBA codes to automate mundane tasks or trying my hand at iOS programmming. As a father of two, I often indulge myself in imagining what my children will be like when they are older, the hobbies they will have, and the enrichment classes (yes, I’m a typical Singaporean parent) they may enjoy. Never had I imagined them coding… at least not till I saw the TED video by Mitch Resnick.

I would have wanted to start coding at a younger age

The benefits of knowing coding is very clear. In the “if I can travel back in time imagination”, I would no doubt want to start coding at a much earlier age. It would have been very difficult for kids to stay engaged and really grasp the concept of programming back in the 90s. But now, with programs like Scratch, kids learning how to code will be as easy as teaching them Mathematics, Science or even the piano. In fact, coding could well be the new literacy – the language which you have to know to interact (at a substantial level) with the endless number of gadgets.

A curriculum to teach my own kids to code

As a parent who wants the best for their children, I started researching about teaching children coding with the intent of ensuring that both my kids are “future-proof”. It was almost like doing a thesis by the time I was done with the research and I was satisfied. Satisfied that I’m able to utilize my strength (in computers, coding and logical thinking) to prepare my kids for the future.

The world would be more efficient if everyone knows coding

The next thought of teaching other kids to code came when I ran into difficulties coaching a few members of my team at work on how they could automate some of the analytical work they were doing. The thought in my mind then was “this could easily be solved with a few lines of codes”. Alright I exaggerated a little; it would probably have needed more than a few lines of codes, but the bottom line is that if the team had known the fundamental concepts of coding, they would have been far better off. That’s when I thought of joining Mitch Resnick in encouraging children to learn coding. The seed got planted in my mind, and I started developing the purpose of (doing my small part) to teach the world to code.

Thanks guys! Will share more with you in my next blog post.

Code well!

Yong Ning

P/s: Sharing with you the video that got me started. You might want to turn it on during your morning commute tomorrow for an entertaining journey to work 😉

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