What is Coding?

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In the world of digital literacy, what is coding?  The process of developing and implementing various sets of instructions to enable a computer to do a certain task.  In other words, it's computer programming and it is a skill that isn't part of the curriculum in our schools.  We use computers for everything from every day life to almost every occupation, including those future occupations that haven't yet been created.  So how do we learn how to code, and how do we engage our children in the world of coding?

UnLondon, London’s non-profit leader in engaging Londoners with technology in unconventional and unorthodox ways, is exploring an initiative for teaching game programming as a means of improving digital literacy and creativity.

Those interested in learning more about some of the available tools are encouraged to visit code.org, scratch.mit.edu and s4a.cat (Scratch for Arduino).  Code.org teaches users of all ages to build Flappy Bird, a game which can be played on a desktop or shared to a phone.  Scratch is a simple programming language which lets users drag and drop bits of code to create games.  Scratch for Arduino applies the Scratch language to the Arduino (www.arduino.cc), a popular and inexpensive micro-processor which allows for many creative electronics applications.

One of UnLondon’s goals is to make coding accessible to all youth, regardless of age, gender, family income, physical abilities, nationality and other factors which can act as obstacles to education.

UnLondon is a non-profit corporation which since 2009 has engaged Londoners with technology of all kinds.  UnLondon runs the UnLab (www.unlab.ca), London’s premier maker space, at the Research Park at Western University.  It also hosts workshops and community events and provides a platform for Londoners to develop their own programs. 

Below are links to TVOParents, which will take you to articles about coding that may provide you with a better understanding:

http://tvoparents.tvo.org/article/why-young-kids-need-learn-code

http://tvoparents.tvo.org/article/girls-learning-code

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For more information about UnLondon, please visit www.unlondon.ca or contact Fred Cahill at fred@unlondon.ca or Adrian Willsher at adrian@unlondon.ca.