Starting with Scratch
Prerequisites: At least 7 years old and has completed Primary 1 in the local school system or Year 1 in the international school system.
Basics of Code 1 is SG Code Campus' foundational course for absolute beginners. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of coding through programming the world's favourite robot - the Star Wars BB8 ©. Students will subsequently learn to program their own music, video games and animation using Scratch.
We will touch on the nature of computers - where they are found, why they are useful, and how they work. Code Campers will come to recognise code as a language used to instruct computers, as well as a means to tackle complex problems.
How do you use computer science to solve a problem? You start by learning how to formulate algorithms (chain tasks together to solve a problem), construct loops (computers are great at repetitive tasks so exploit that!) and rely on conditionals (enable your computer to make decisions). After this course, kids will be able to build basic programs and collaborate with others to devise computer-based solutions to problems.
“Coding” is synonymous with “programming”. It refers to the art of writing computer code, which are instructions that a computer can follow to solve problems. Practically every facet of technology that we encounter in our daily lives - from online banking systems to video games on our iPhone, from the GPS systems we rely on navigation to the security systems that protect our homes and offices, is created from code.
At Code Campus, we start with Scratch and AppInventor - drag-and-drop block-based languages developed at MIT over more than decade for the specific purpose of teaching kids how to code. Learning to code in Scratch is a little like learning how to ride a bike by first starting with a tricycle - a tricycle can get you to places but you are not likely to compete in triathlon on one. With Scratch, kids learn the basics of the thinking process behind using computers to solve problems but what they can build is largely limited to video games, music and electronic art boards that run off the Scratch platform. Regular programming languages we hear about like Python, Java and C++ have no such restrictions and can be used to build applications across any technical domain you can think of but comes at the cost of much greater complexity and are much more difficult to set up for the beginner. Scratch and AppInventor are educational tools that allow us to separate the thinking of computer science from the operational tedium of regular languages, allowing us to introduce kids to the subject at a much earlier age and increase their future aptitude for the discipline.