With the current Covid-19 situation, it may seem like the tech-activities that we can do at this time are limited. Don’t worry, the Coding Lab team has got you covered!

Two-Hour Easter Parent-Child Workshop

We’re having an online two-hour Easter parent-child workshop, where you and your child can program a bunny to go on an Easter Egg Hunt together for just $10. Decorate Easter eggs and hold your child’s hands as you kickstart their coding journey!
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Details:
Thursday, 9 April 2020
4.30pm – 6.30pm
Online
$10 (U.P. $55)

For more details, click here.

For the Facebook event page, click here.


Home-Based Learning (HBL) $10 Trials

Begin your online learning with Coding Lab! Not sure if it’s for your child? Our two-hour $10 trials (U.P. $55) will let them have a shot at programming simple games and animations with Scratch or pick up Python, one of the most popular programming languages. Feel free to contact our HBL concierge team that is always on-hand to help with any queries – we strive to make the transition to online learning as seamless as possible, especially in this digital era.

Home-Based Learning

Details:
Date: Multiple dates available
Duration: 2 hours
Online
$10 (U.P. $55)

For more details, click here.


5 Things To Do While Staying Home

Quarantine, social distancing and Stay-Home Notices got you and your family bored? We’ve put together five suggestions that can get your kiddos all revved up about technology.

5 Stay at Home Tips

Click here to listen to Software Engineer.


With news that we have to suspend our physical classes, our usual weekly classes for the age groups of 7-910-12 and 13-18 will still continue from home. We aim to make this transition as seamless as possible for you and your children, so here are 5 Tips from the Coding Lab team on how our HBL coding classes can be maximised:

Maximise HBL Newsletter

It’s simple to sign up for a HBL class with us. If in doubt, give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to assist you. We’ll even send an E-Learning package your way – and a complimentary introduction to ease the transition to online, home-based learning. After all, it’s our goal to nurture future leaders of technology!

If you haven’t seen our previous techtivity recommendations, check out our March techtivities at Sentosa and online!

Our non-profit Tiny Thinkers initiative began as a bold Final-Year Project for a team of Nanyang Technological University undergraduates, which has been well received and reached out to many under their leadership. As they graduate, they pass the baton on to five other undergraduates – who, although all happen to be from the National University of Singapore, are diverse and bring their own unique set of strengths to the table. 

Let’s meet the fresh new team powering the second year of Tiny Thinkers.

Chairperson: Candice Wang

“It’s heartening to see the number of hours put in by the core team and their amazing passion and enthusiasm, which rubs off on all of our volunteers.”

Candice, with a Computational Thinking Kit, at the NLB Volunteers Training
Candice, with a Computational Thinking Kit, at the NLB Volunteers Training

As a mother of two and Director of Coding Lab, Candice understands parents and oversees the operations and community engagement sectors. She admits that it is no easy feat to be a part of Tiny Thinkers for the second year running, organising activities and packing kits. But with a new team, she says, “It’s exciting to have many interested young talents who bring their unique interests, personalities and know-how to make things happen. It’s heartening to see the number of hours put in by the core team and their amazing passion and enthusiasm, which rubs off on all of our volunteers.”

With 2020 ahead, she is excited that Tiny Thinkers will be able to impact more than 7,000 young lives across many preschools and libraries in Singapore with the Junior Computational Thinking (CT) kit, which covers all 4 pillars of CT (Abstraction, Algorithm, Decomposition and Pattern Recognition). “This kit has been heavily oversubscribed and we still have a long waitlist of preschools asking for it,” she said. “Our volunteers are working hard to pack kits so it can promptly reach preschools and libraries across Singapore. We are very proud of this kit, developed in conjunction with our partners (IMDA, Skool4kids and Nexus), which infuses Total Defense values into CT and most importantly, encourages parent-child bonding.”

President: Thinzar Htet

“While it is tiring, I enjoy interacting with children during events and workshops which reminds me of why I became a part of Tiny Thinkers in the first place.”

Thinzar manning the Tiny Thinkers booth at the National Library Board's kidsREAD 15th anniversary carnival
Thinzar manning the Tiny Thinkers booth at the National Library Board’s kidsREAD 15th anniversary carnival

The former intern at Coding Lab initially helped out with Tiny Thinkers activities and was inspired to keep the flame burning after her internship ended. Thinzar recalls her experiences during Tiny Thinkers workshops, where she shared the joy of coding with parents and witnessed children enjoying themselves. “When parents hear the aim of Tiny Thinkers, they inquire and remark that it is an interesting and great thing that we are doing. These instances make me feel proud of what I have done and want to continue, despite the difficulties.” 

The second-year Sociology student was always interested in education and working with children, “So I thought that it was fitting to be a part of something meaningful like Tiny Thinkers, which equips children with the valuable skill of Computational Thinking. While it is tiring,” she admits, “I enjoy interacting with children during events and workshops which reminds me of why I became a part of Tiny Thinkers in the first place.”

Head of Talent Acquisition: Shravya Murali

“I want to create a positive difference and to spark joy in the lives of others and myself.”

Shravya (on the right) at the Mendaki Learning Festival
Shravya (on the right) at the Mendaki Learning Festival

A firm believer that every child should have access to education – specifically, computational education – regardless of their background, Shravya is on a journey to make her life more meaningful. “I want to create a positive difference and to spark joy in the lives of others and myself,” the second-year Life Sciences student said. This led to her joining the Tiny Thinkers team. “I had chances to converse with parents at the Tiny Thinkers booth during the Smart Nation & U event, and they seemed impressed and appreciated what Tiny Thinkers was doing.” 

Just like Thinzar, this motivated Shravya to continue her work with Tiny Thinkers, knowing that it benefits others. She also spent her December holidays as an intern educator with Coding Lab, gaining more experience in teaching children while also interacting with parents. When asked about what she’s anticipating for in 2020, the avid volunteer said: “I am excited for more Tiny Thinkers events to come!”

Head of Training and Development: Jeffrey Tan

“I have been looking out for an avenue to give back through mentoring for a while now, so this came at the right time … I feel that I can make a difference in someone’s life here.”

Head of Training and Development, Jeffrey
Jeffrey giving a talk about computational thinking at the Smart Nation & U event

During one of his volunteer stints, Jeffrey was observed to have been working excellently with kids and was approached by Shravya to be a part of Tiny Thinkers. “I have been looking out for an avenue to give back through mentoring for a while now, so this came at the right time,” the third-year Computational Biology student enthused, citing the aims of Tiny Thinkers as the inspiration for joining. “They are very clear, achievable and most importantly, meaningful. I feel that I can make a difference in someone’s life here. I am able to multiply my value through training volunteers and subsequently gather feedback to improve the materials.” 

On Tiny Thinkers activities, Jeffrey mentions that it is heartwarming how parents are also involved. “It’s always nice to witness the parent-child physical connection especially in today’s increasingly digitalised society,” he remarked. “While the background of a family often plays a part in a child’s education, we strive to put everyone on the same starting line as we welcome the digital age.” 

Head of Marketing: Lakshmi Suresh

“I believe in devoting myself to a greater purpose, which involves helping others.”

Lakshmi giving a talk at the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) Conference
Lakshmi giving a talk at the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) Conference

The bubbly second-year Business student was a former intern educator at Coding Lab, where she also helped out with marketing activities. Lakshmi’s interest in entrepreneurship and social service was what led her to be a part of the team. “I believe in devoting myself to a greater purpose, which involves helping others,” she said. “Once I heard about Tiny Thinkers and their vision, I felt immediately drawn to helping the team out by tapping on my personal strengths.” 

In managing media channels and disseminating messages, her dedication is further spurred on by the effects of what she does. “I really love it when the publicity successfully attracts people to attend our events and to see parents and children have fun warms my heart,” she gushed. “I hope that Tiny Thinkers can be understood as an organisation that is out to make a difference, and that we can get more volunteers and participants to make our vision a reality!”

Head of Logistics: Senthamaraiselvan Pooja

“Being involved in something as meaningful as Tiny Thinkers has really made my university life more exciting as there are many exciting events going on to help spread computational thinking to young children.”

Pooja (on the right) at the ECDA Conference
Pooja (on the right) at the ECDA Conference

The second-year Biomedical Engineering student is in charge of ensuring that the materials and kits are delivered to the right place and at the right time. “I wish that I received more exposure to computational thinking at a young age,” Pooja confessed. “But by joining the Tiny Thinkers team, I find great delight in being part of a team that equips today’s children with this skill. This is especially critical now as Singapore is moving towards becoming a Smart Nation, so computational thinking would definitely be highly relevant in many future jobs.” 

When asked how she manages to juggle school and studies, Pooja mentioned that just being focused on studying can make life dull. “Being involved in something as meaningful as Tiny Thinkers has really made my university life more exciting as there are many exciting events going on to help spread computational thinking to young children,” she said.

 

The Tiny Thinkers team. Back row (from left): Jeffrey and Shravya Front row (from left): Lakshmi, Thinzar and Pooja
The Tiny Thinkers team. Back row (from left): Jeffrey and Shravya
Front row (from left): Lakshmi, Thinzar and Pooja

What’s next for Tiny Thinkers?

  • Conducting sessions for various preschools about the Tiny Thinkers Junior Computational Thinking kit
  • Working with National Library Board’s kidsREAD programme to distribute 3,500 computational thinking kits to beneficiaries
  • More workshops to empower more kids and achieve the target of 7000 kits to be given out!
The recent Tiny Thinkers training of around 100 NLB Volunteers with guests Ms Low Tze Hui from IMDA and NLB KidsRead Manager Ms Pearle Chua.
The recent Tiny Thinkers training with close to 100 NLB Volunteers. Ms Low Tze Hui from IMDA and NLB KidsRead Manager Ms Pearle Chua and her NLB team posing with the Tiny Thinkers Team.

About Tiny Thinkers:

A non-profit campaign by Coding Lab that aims to empower and educate parents to kickstart their little one’s journey in Computational Thinking. For more information, please click here. Tiny Thinkers is also featured on IMDA’s website here.

You can also join the Tiny Thinkers team as a volunteer or work with them as a corporate volunteer by filling up this form: https://forms.gle/ezNGx38Q6EYnZgWR6. You can also keep up to date with them on Facebook or Instagram.

Game Master. App Guru. Math Whiz. Storyteller. What kind of a coder are you?

FINAL FB_What Kind Of A Coder Are You

Let our exciting quiz, specially designed to help you uncover your talent, lead you to discover the path that you were destined for!

Discover your coder personality here… 

Take our quiz!

Did you catch Tiny Thinkers at the National Library Board’s (NLB) kidsREAD 15th Anniversary Carnival?

Thinzar, the President of Tiny Thinkers, explaining the Junior Computational Thinking kits to the children at booth.
Thinzar, the President of Tiny Thinkers, explaining the Junior Computational Thinking kits to children at the booth.

On 9th November, Tiny Thinkers was invited to celebrate the 15th anniversary of NLB’s kidsREAD programme. Tiny Thinkers had a booth for children to kickstart their Computational Thinking journey with our Junior Computational Thinking kit. The kit, developed by Tiny Thinkers and supported by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA), allows children to plan a character’s story and also included hands-on activities for parents to complete with their children at home.

President Halimah Yacob with (from left) Ms Low Tze Hui, Manager of Infocomm Media Development Authority and her son, Thinzar, President of Tiny Thinkers, Candice, Co-Founder of Coding Lab,
Our Tiny Thinkers team (in orange), Coding Lab Co-Founder Candice (third from left), and Amazon Web Services volunteers (in blue) taking a photo with President Halimah Yacob and Ms Low Tze Hui (far left), Manager, Infocomm Media Development Authority, and her son, Luke.

Thank you to President Halimah Yacob, Mr S Iswaran (Minister for Communications and Information), and Ms Low Tze Hui, for stopping by our booth to find out more about Tiny Thinkers and our goals for the children of Singapore!

Luke showing President Halimah Yacob what he learned from the Tiny Thinkers Junior Computational Thinking kit. (Source: President Halimah's Facebook page)
Luke even had the opportunity to show President Halimah Yacob what he learned from the Tiny Thinkers Junior Computational Thinking kit. (Source: President Halimah Yacob’s Facebook, MCI Photo by Lee Jia Wen)

Tiny Thinkers is proud to have been able to collaborate with NLB to reach out to more parents about the importance of Computational Thinking in today’s digital economy. This is especially relevant as this year’s kidsREAD programme was focused on promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Mathematics.

A volunteer from Amazon Web Services guiding two young children through the Junior Computational Kits.
A volunteer from Amazon Web Services guiding two young children through the Junior Computational Kits.

Throughout the year, we worked closely with NLB to hold free one-hour workshops titled ‘Tiny Thinkers On The Go’ at Tampines and Jurong Regional Libraries, where our Junior Computational Thinking kits were also distributed. We hope that participants of all our Tiny Thinkers events enjoyed completing the kit activities and that this jumpstarts their interests in computational thinking!

Thank you to all the Amazon Web Services (AWS) volunteers from AWS InCommunities and Connect@Amazon for collaborating with us for this event!
Thank you to all the Amazon Web Services (AWS) volunteers for collaborating with us for this event!

We also want to thank our Amazon Web Services volunteers who helped us to guide the children and spread the word about computational thinking among the event’s participants! We couldn’t have reached out to as many people without their assistance, persistence and love.

Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, dropped by our booth to have a chat with Thinzar, President of Tiny Thinkers, and our Amazon Web Services volunteers.
Mr S Iswaran, Minister for Communications and Information, also dropped by our booth to have a chat with Thinzar, President of Tiny Thinkers, and our Amazon Web Services volunteers.

Tiny Thinkers will also continue to collaborate with NLB next year, where free Junior Computational Thinking Kits will be given out to 3,500 participants of the kidsREAD programme to equip them with the tools to be digitally-ready.

More children trying their hand at our Junior Computational Thinking kits!
More children trying their hand at our Junior Computational Thinking kits!

If you weren’t able to get a kit this year, fret not! We know that as parents, we all want to give our children a headstart in this digital age. Do keep a lookout on our Tiny Thinkers page (or Facebook page) for updates on what we’re doing and on our future events!

Another Amazon Web Services volunteer assisting participants in Computational Thinking.
Another Amazon Web Services volunteer assisting participants in Computational Thinking.

2020 definitely looks like an exciting year ahead for our Tiny Thinkers!

About kidsREAD
A nationwide reading programme launched in 2004, it encourages positive attitudes towards reading and aims to inculcate good reading habits among young Singaporeans of all races, and especially those from low-income families.

For more information, please click here.

About Tiny Thinkers
A non-profit campaign by Coding Lab that aims to empower and educate parents to kickstart their little one’s journey in Computational Thinking.

For more information, please click here.

Coding Lab was invited to be a part of Project We Care Garden Party at the Istana on 1st September 2019. Our founders and volunteer tutors were on-hand and eager to impart their coding knowledge to people of all ages at the booth.

Coding is for everyone of any age!
Coding is for everyone of any age!

The bi-annual social wellness event by the People’s Association reached out to 1,500 beneficiaries from low-income families, the less privileged children, and the elderly. Visitors to Coding Lab’s booth were treated to a programming feast as they got to code Photon robots to ‘eat’ mooncakes, ketupats, putu mayams and cupcakes (Each delicacy representing one of the major ethnic groups in Singapore!).

Our Founders with Mr Chan Chun Sing, Deputy Chairman of the People's Association and Minister for Trade and Industry, at the Project We Care event.
Our Founders with Mr Chan Chun Sing, Deputy Chairman of the People’s Association and Minister for Trade and Industry, at the Project We Care event.

Coding Lab has been working to bring programming to communities as part of this initiative. Our volunteers have taught Python to youths and conducted workshops on app usage for the elderly. We are proud to do our part in spreading digital literacy in Singapore.

It’s Coding Lab’s honour to be a part of Project We Care Garden Party at the Istana, where we were able to showcase and share with others the joy of coding and programming. Thank you to the People’s Association for giving us the opportunity to participate in this meaningful initiative to give back to the community – we can’t wait for our next corporate social responsibility event!

About Project We Care

Started in 2012 by People’s Association, the project aims to rally businesses to contribute to meaningful causes in the community and to encourage volunteerism. The bi-annual Garden Party @ Istana partners with corporations to bring joy to beneficiaries through fun and engaging activities.

To find out more about Project We Care, click here.

Coding Lab and Tiny Thinkers were at the inaugural Smart Nation & U event on 30th November and 1st December to spread the coding word to families through fun. If you weren’t there, here’s the rundown on the things that happened!

Wai Yee, our Operations Manager, sharing with a parent what we do here at Coding Lab.
Wai Yee, our Operations Manager, sharing with a parent what we do here at Coding Lab.

The collaborative two-day event between Smart Nation and Digital Government Office and National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) was held at Downtown East to share how new technologies are transforming the ways that we work, live and play. Indeed, the future is digital and it is essential to spark interests in tech – especially in our children.

A participant using a micro:bit to play a Scratch game.
A participant using a micro:bit to play a Scratch game.

Coding Lab engaged children with our wireless micro:bits, which were connected to Scratch games on the laptop. This gave them a peek into what we do in our Young Computer Scientists (for ages 7 to 9) and Advanced Computer Scientists (for ages 10 to 12) classes.

Lakshmi, Head of Marketing at Tiny Thinkers, getting parents and their children acquainted with the workshop and tips on how they can navigate in a Smart Nation.
Lakshmi, Head of Marketing at Tiny Thinkers, getting parents and their children acquainted with the workshop and sharing tips on how they can navigate in a Smart Nation.

On the other hand, Tiny Thinkers held free Tiny Thinkers On The Go workshops that distributed free Junior Computational Thinking kits for exciting parent-child activities.

Parents working on the Junior Computational Thinking kits alongside their child, and with the help of a Smart Nation Ambassador.
Parents working on the Junior Computational Thinking kits alongside their child, and with the help of a Smart Nation Ambassador.

We would like to thank our participants for joining us at our workshops, as well as the Smart Nation Ambassadors who were on-hand and actively facilitated learning among parents and children!

Coding has no age limit – we shared information on coding with people of all ages!
Coding has no age limit – we shared information on coding with people of all ages!

Coding Lab and Tiny Thinkers are pleased to work with Smart Nation Singapore once again at the Smart Nation & U event, to move towards the goal of Singapore becoming a world-class city with a leading economy powered by digital innovation. We look forward to the next time that we get to join forces again!

About Smart Nation Singapore
It is a nationwide initiative by the Singapore Government to harness the power of technology to build a Digital Economy, Digital Government and Digital Society. It was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2014, who described the goal and future of this nation-building initiative as a Singapore “where we can create possibilities for ourselves beyond what we imagined possible”.

For more information, please click here.

Top 6 apps for teaching kids to code

Computer programming courses for kids has become easier with apps and online resources. Other than having apps that help in revising for kids’ exam, these computer programming related apps comes with project-based learning. These tools give them a chance to create and participate in fun activities. If your kid has a packed curriculum or if they think coding isn’t interesting, these applications are perfect to start with. These apps are used in coding classes for children and can be used by anyone without any background in coding. Read about the top 6 apps that can be used to teach children how to code.

 

Scratch

This is available on the internet free of cost. It was designed by a group of students and teachers from MIT. Scratch was developed for computer programming courses for kids of ages 8 to 16.

The Scratch website provides teaching guides and resources to help instructors with no prior background. Scratch uses a visual coding language with bricks to be dragged to the workspace to trigger loops, play sounds and create variables.

 

Tynker

Tynker is a free, web-based application as well. It is a new tool, but already popular in coding classes for children. The interface is like Scratch. However, the difference is that while the former was designed for programming, Tynker teaches programming.

Tynker has lesson plans, a community of student-created programs, and tools for classroom management. Tynker lets students learn at their own pace, and sparks interest in programming in them with its interactive games.

 

Cargo-Bot

Available on iPad, Cargo-Bot teaches computer programming for kids for free. Kids have to write programs in order to control a robotic arm and move crates to the top of the screen. The scope of replaying each level encourages kids to try out different moves.

Coding classes for children are increasingly using Cargo-Bot to introduce otherwise different concepts like looping constructs and procedural abstraction. Kids from grades 5 to 12 can play this game.

 

Hopscotch

You can access Hopscotch on iPad for free. It is similar to Tynker and Scratch in that it uses controls to shift blocks onto a workspace. However, the difference is that the controls are not that extensive. Meant for grades 4 to 9, Hopscotch is a great tool to start computer programming for kids.

 

GameStar Mechanic

This is another web based application meant for kids from ages 7 to 14. For kids who are into video games, GameStar Mechanic is the right app. By using a narrative style game and inbuilt design tools, kids can learn the basics of game design with this app.

Using assets, they can then switch over to the workshop and start designing their own games. GameStar Mechanic helps develop problem-solving skills and critical thinking in your kids.

 

CodeMonkey

Meant for kids of age 9 or above, CodeMonkey comes with excellent graphics and interesting puzzles. The game uses a real programming language and guides players at each step. CodeMonkey is a good choice for those looking to keep the burden of technical language away. Puzzles at higher steps require the use of knowledge gained so far, so the whole game functions as a carefully-thought-out programming curriculum.

Myths about Kids Learning Coding

The fastest learning happens from ages five to twelve years. If you want your kids to learn to code, you should enrol your children in kids coding classes as early as possible. Learning programming helps kids think analytically and develop their problem-solving skills. However, there are still many misconceptions about who should learn to code. For instance, some parents have a misconception that one should have extraordinary IQ and math skills to be able to learn to code. Even many schools in Singapore have not made it a part of their curriculum as yet. Here are some common myths about kids learning to code.

Kids are too young to learn to code

Age is no bar for anyone, including kids, to learn to code. In fact, many governments all over the world are considering whether they should include kids programming classes in the school curriculum. Writing code is a healthy exercise for the mind and with the introduction of visual languages like Scratch and Alice, it has become much more interactive and easier for the kids to learn to code. Nowadays, kids can even learn to code on online platforms that combine gaming with coding.

Young girls should not be encouraged to code

Another rumour floating in the coding world is that girl children should not be taught to code. Computer science is wrongly seen as a subject only for males. In fact, the world’s first programmer, Ada Lovelace, was a woman. The lower ratio of female programmers to male programmers should not discourage you from sending your daughter to kids programming classes. It can help them think better.

Coding requires a lot of time

This is not true because children can pick up programming quite easily. Teachers often do not integrate coding into the curriculum because of the little classroom time. The fact is that coding can easily be combined with other conventional subjects. However, coding classes outside school can engage kids better, by way of interactive games and activities.

Coding needs expensive devices and technology

Introducing kids to coding need not be an expensive process. Some websites offer free resources, lessons and tutorials and apps like Tynker and LightBot to make coding fun. The Raspberry Pi computer is an affordable tool to start with. By sending your kids to coding classes, you can expose them to beginner-level hardware and technology. If all kids in a class do not have their own kits, collaborative coding projects can help.

 

It should be taught only to aspiring computer programmers

This is a blatant lie, as knowledge of computer programming is desirable in most fields today. It is estimated that by 2020, most job descriptions would require candidates to have basic IT skills. Thus, why computer programming courses for kids in Singapore is on a rise. Even otherwise, computer programming is a lucrative and rewarding career option.