Alisha
Alisha Software Engineer at CSIRO's Data61, Python, Javascript, ReactJS, Scala

Keep Calm and go to Code Camp!

Keep Calm and go to Code Camp!

Code Camp is a fun coding camp of 2, 3 and 4 days where children learn to code. They get a hands-on experience of what coding is.

Now some pictures!

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The classes are divided into 4 groups:

Little League

This group is for kids aged between 5 - 6 or who are in grades K - 1 and who have no idea of what coding is. Each Little League camp comes equipped with iPads for the whole class to enjoy. The kids build awesome mini-games and learn about coding in the process. This group is a combination of online and offline activities. For more info, check here: Little-league.

Spark

This group is for kids aged between 7 - 12 or who are in grades 2 - 6 with beginner’s knowledge and are ready to hop on to intermediate stage. This is the most popular group. They make their own mobile phone game playable via the Code Camp App (which can be downloaded on Apple and Android phones). The kids get a taste of real world coding by doing ‘Drag and Drop’ coding using the proprietory software ‘Code Camp World’. This is even accessible after the camp ends, so they can practice and have fun at home too, taking help from the video tutorials! For more info, check here: spark.

Ignite

This group is for kids aged between 7 - 12 or who are in grades 2 - 6 with intermediate knowledge and are ready to hop on to advanced stage. They make their own mobile phone game playable via the Code Camp App (which can be downloaded on Apple and Android phones). The kids get a taste of real world coding by doing advanced ‘Drag and Drop’ coding and line coding using Javascript on the last day of the camp using the proprietory software ‘Code Camp World’. This is even accessible after the camp ends, so they can practice and have fun at home too, taking help from the video tutorials! For more info, check here: ignite.

Blast

This group is for kids aged between 8 - 13 or who are in grades 3 - 7 and have completed the Spark and Ignite. This is for advanced students only as they learn coding in pure Javascript. They make their own mobile phone game playable via the Code Camp App (which can be downloaded on Apple and Android phones), using line coding in pure Javascript. For more info, check here: blast.

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Each class has a staff of atleast three people, including head teacher and teaching assistants. Each camp has atleast two camp managers and a first aid practitioner.

I was a teaching assistant for the Ignite group in the camp conducted at University of Melbourne during the spring holidays 2017. There was a Code Camp meet and greet two weeks before the camp to prepare the staff for their respective roles. There was a party as well, so that the staff can know each other well. I didn’t go, so I can’t elaborate on how it was :P

It was a three day camp, and I had a lot of fun. I love kids, I love teaching and I love coding (obviously, being a software programmer myself!). It is a very fulfilling role, where you know you are building the foundation for technologists of the future. I saw the amazed look on people’s face due to the response they got for the question ‘what the camp is for’, keeping in mind that all kids were of age group 5 - 13, with average age being 9.

The timings for the camp were 9 am - 3.30 pm.

On the first day, all the kids were provided with a Code Camp t-shirt and a hat. As far as learning is concerned, they learnt Drag and Drop coding in the Code Camp World software, where they could keep practicing at home as well. There were two breaks in between, a recess and a lunch break so that the kids can have some outdoor time and get refreshed. The day ended with a cheerful note, with all the kids being happy about the exciting things they learnt during the day.

On the second day, the kids were taught about some advanced concepts in Drag and Drop coding like logic, UI, Math functions etc. They made many mini games inside the main game using these concepts.

On the third and the last day, they finished their mini games using Drag and Drop and made another mini game using line coding only, i.e. using Javascript. An unexpected observation was that the kids found line coding more fun and easier than the Drag and Drop coding (i.e. Block Coding)! During the lunch break, there was a silent disco party where all the teachers and kids were provided with headphones playing some great classic party tracks ;) All the games were published by 3 pm on the Code Camp portal and the students showcased their games and even challenged their friends to complete various levels in their games. The games can be accessed from the Code Camp app. Each kid gets a code and using that code, one can find his/her game in the app. Here is an example screenshot for the same:

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At the end of the day, everyone had mixed feelings, as it was an exciting experience but saying goodbyes is always the hardest part.

Here are some screenshots of the games made by the kids during the camp:

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I hope you enjoyed reading the post. Thanks! Tada! :)

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