Coding Competition Winners

The Scratch coding competition that was run over the summer holidays has now finished and I have had great fun judging the entries. After failing to find suitable competition to encourage my students over the holidays, I decided to set one up myself and the response has been great. It’s allowed me to speak with teachers, educators and parents all over the world and it’s also been great fun playing all the fantastic entries the First Coding received.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to build a game and enter it. It was really difficult to choose a winner but if you didn’t win this time around, maybe enter another one the next time we hold a similar competition.

Retro Gaming Workshops

First Coding will now be running two Retro Gaming coding workshops this month. They’re being held at The Old Fire Station in Salt Lane, Salisbury and each one costs just £20 for the two hour session. The times of the workshops are below:

Saturday 11th August 2pm – 4pm
Saturday 18th August 2pm – 4pm

If your child is aged between 10 and 14 and would be interested in attending one of the workshops, then please drop me a line.

We’ll be using Scratch, a visual programming language that is used in most schools. Scratch can be used in very clever ways (including designing this video for the workshops) and is a great gateway into learning to code.

Birthday Party

This week saw First Coding host its very first children’s party. The parents were looking to host a party with a difference and approached me to see what I could do to help. So this weekend we had eight young coders all working away on their own games to then go head to head to win prizes at the end. The prizes I gave away were copies of this rather fab Scratch coding book based on Star Wars, check it out here.

It was a great deal of fun for all, including myself who got to work with some great kids with some very creative ideas, all whilst being fed cake.

First Coding Birthday Party

A New Podcast

As part of the teaching resource subscription package, I’ve started a series of podcasts covering a multitude of topics designed to help teachers and educators. As a little taster, here is the introductory episode for you to listen to.

Episode One: You don’t need to be an expert to run successful coding lessons.

Jez Whitworth, the co-founder of First Coding introduces himself and talks about how with his background in training and software development, identified a real need to teach coding to the younger generations. He also offers tips on how people who have little or no experience in teaching coding can become computer coding educators like himself and appeals for ideas on how best to encourage more girls to take up the subject.

Minecraft and Code

This week saw me visit the Bett Show which is an educational tech exhibition held in London’s ExCel Centre. The show is massive to say the least and in order to get the most out of my visit I put together a list of some of the people I wanted to talk to.

At the top of my list was Microsoft and the work they’re doing to with their Minecraft Education Edition. I spent a great deal of time talking to them about ways I can incorporate Minecraft into my coding courses and came away feeling very encouraged along with a couple of really good ideas about how to take things forward.

Microsoft at the Bett Show 2018

Integrating coding into Minecraft is easy and fun with the Code Builder which is based around the visual coding platforms such as Scratch that most of us are familiar with. This really simplifies the process of using code to manipulate the virtual world and offers an easy progression process when pupils are ready.

Microsoft at the Bett Show 2018

I also spent time with Google and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, again looking at ways to integrate their products into First Coding courses. Both stands were incredibly interesting to spend time with.

Other highlights include meeting a number product designers that I’m a huge fan of and have followed and read about them for years. Oh, and I also got to play and see inside the largest working Gameboy in the world. It’s surprisingly similar to how I made my arcade cabinet and I’m now wondering how one goes about breaking a world record.

Largest working Gameboy in the world