Minecraft & Coding

It is now widely accepted that the process of learning computer programming can greatly benefit a child’s intellectual and cognitive development. Papert, author of Mindstorms, captured the essence of what programming skills bring to the young mind when he wrote:  

‘Many children are held back in their learning because they have a model of learning in which you have either ‘got it’ or ‘got it wrong.’ But when you programme a computer you almost never get it right the first time. Learning to be a master programmer is learning to become highly skilled at isolating and correcting bugs. In fact, the question to ask about the programme is not whether it is right or wrong, but if it is fixable. If this way of looking at intellectual products were generalized to how the larger culture thinks about knowledge and its acquisition we might all be less intimidated by our fears of ‘being wrong.’’

Children are usually aware of the power of computer programming and are avid consumers of it in the form of computer games. Our aim is to lift the veil on the magic of games and smartphones and teach how algorithms are constructed to deliver the end results children see every day. Using Scratch and Python as educational tools, we demystify programming, at the same time explaining foundation concepts such as binary and other numeral systems and working through how a computer actually operates.

For most children aged 7 to 11 will already be familiar with Scratch, however instead of teaching them the programming environment of Scratch we go further and, using games as a learning tool, teach them all the major programming constructions and how to compose effective algorithms.

Then if we consider the  11 to 17 years old we are able to provide courses on the syntax and semantics of Python and its application through to writing complex programmes. We also run courses on Web Design (HTML/CSS, Java Script, image processing and logo development).

The aim of our courses is to convert children from consumers of computer programmes into creators who understand how a computer works and how to make it work for them instead of just knowing how to work a computer.

 We provide an environment where students develop essential 21st century learning skills that will be critical to their success in the future: thinking creatively, communicating clearly, analysing systematically, collaborating effectively, designing iteratively and learning continuously. We teach students to develop a deeper level of fluency with digital technology and to become creators, not just users.

Our aim is to make our classes enjoyable at the same time as being educational. We also help children see the connection between programming and maths and use the excitement created by programming to drive a deeper interest in mathematical problem solving.