Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Code-Camp Lux - learn, code, play

If you are new to coding and would like to learn the basics using simple drag and drop programming in a homely atmosphere, while playing with a 12 year old - this is the workshop you should sign up for!

Monday, 21 April 2014

An hour of Code - May - June Session Announcement

Limited spaces available:

1. Saturday 11 am to 12 noon - 1 space ***Girls only batch

2. Saturday 4:30 - 5:30 pm - 2 spaces

3. Sunday 4:30 - 5:30 pm - 4 spaces

Looking forward to welcoming you!

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Start from Scratch

Literally start from Scratch!

The group has started using Scratch to design their own application. The first one was an 'About Me' page where they chose to write code to say something about themselves. They also wrote code to make some action happen on the About Me page. eg. make the football roll from one side of the room to the other, make their cat purr a 'meow' sound.

The next session was devoted to making a dance party. The children came up with very interesting ideas and then showed the work to the rest of the class at the end of the session.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Internet and terms associated with it

The session talking about the internet was very interesting because the children hear and use so  many terms related to the internet and may not really know what it means. It was a good opportunity to talk about internet safety as well.

During the activity, some servers were given IP addresses and the programmer had to take a message to the designated server The number of packets the message had to be broken into, the domain name of the server and method of transfer (wifi, DSL.cable, fiber) was specified. The programmer used the DNS table to decipher which IP address it had to be sent to given the domain name.

The message sent by fiber could be carried with both hands holding it firmly. The message to be sent via DSL/cable had to be carried on the head so there was a chance of dropping. When the message was sent via wifi, it was not only carried on the head, but also, I blew on the packets so there was  a higher chance of losing packets.

It was a good lesson and everyone went back understanding how the internet works, the concept of data packets, DNS table, IP address, URL etc. We also discussed why wifi was used despite it having the chance of losing the packets.

Relay Programming

Graph paper programming with a team

To make the best of sunny spring weather, we did relay programming out in the park. It bulds on the graph paper programming done several weeks ago. Children were divided into teams and had to write one instruction at a  time taking turn like in a relay race. It showed the importance of checking the work and writing programs in a proper sequence.

The fact that most programs are written in teams in real life, was very well displayed. It also showed that if the team decides on using a particular method in order to help the next team member, it could be made more efficient.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


Writing stories, coming up with a template to understand abstraction!

In this session we filled in the blanks to complete a story and saw that people can come up with different stories even by replacing the blanks. While some kids wrote a recipe to make cake, others wrote a story to make the worlds most inedible shoe and others to make an incredible video game! It was certainly creativity at it's best!
Then we looked at two stories using the template, figured out the template and made up our own story using that template. It was interesting to see that 'abstraction' was easy to grasp using this simple activity.

Thereafter we went back to coding where we left off. Some children also started Scratch and made a cat dance to music as the first exercise.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Learning Functions with Songs

Functions with song writing

Last weekend, we sang songs to learn about functions. Whenever the word 'Chorus' came within the song, no one sang the word but instead went to where the Chorus of the song was defined and sang it.

It was indeed interesting to see that it was so intuitive to do so! Then we learned about passing  parameters into the functions again via songs.

Then we made up a song and passed different parameters to change the chorus like in Old Mc Donald where the sound changes although chorus remains the same.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Girls and Moms code to celebrate IWD

IWD Celebration - Girls and Moms join hands to code

The IWD celebration on the theme of 'inspiring change' announced in February, for the Hour of Code free session for girls started filling up with registrations of interested participants. The wort.lu article about it helped to boost the awareness and more registrations came in.

It gives me great pleasure that it was a grand success! Not only did the girls learn to code but the Moms who were waiting with them also did! The binary coding activity was well received by the 11 girls who came to experience that coding is not so difficult and can be quite a fun experience. After trying their hand at simple drag and drop programming, some of them instantly signed up to continue for the next sessions!

The hot chocolate and cookies was a welcome break after using the coding skills for an hour. Looking forward to inspiring more girls to enjoy coding!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

International Women's Day Celebration- Coding for Girls - in the news

Good to see the Coding workshop in the news!
Community Published on 18.02.14 08:45

Kids and coding - One woman's mission to help girls in Luxembourg


Madhumalti Sharma has tapped into a growing market in Luxembourg - teaching coding to kids
Photo: JB
A young mum is doing her bit to encourage more women to study computer science by offering a free introductory class to computer programming for girls to mark International Women's Day.
Madhumalti Sharma, 38, launched computing4kids, workshops in English for young people aged 7 to 16 years in Luxembourg, at the beginning of 2014.
The software professional, who worked for IBM before moving to Luxembourg in 2009, decided to offer something else when she noticed how few girls were signing up.
“I had three or four girls out of 21 children,” she told wort.lu, adding: “That's when I realised it's worldwide, this issue (of a lack of girls opting to learn computer programming) and I should do something.”
The Indian national from Calcutta was involved with similar computer science programmes organised by IBM in India, where computer programming is popular but women remain under-represented in the field.
“The idea was to show the girls it was an interesting career option,” she said.

File photo
Photo: Shutterstock
Learning while having fun
Madhumalti said that programming is not as complicated as some might think. Her informal, workshops held at her home in Kirchberg, serve as an introduction by touching on concepts related to computer science.
Combining computer-based and paper activities, the mother-of-two helps children to understand how computers think and gets them motivated by coding using games like Angry Birds or Plants vs Zombies, for example.
“It's not like a typical class where they have to go and do something or complete homework for. It's about learning while having fun,” she said.
The young people are then able to pursue their own interests, whether they be in learning a specific code, designing phone applications or understanding how games work.
The result has been overwhelmingly successful, prompting Madhumalti to put on additional workshops.
“It's very interesting to see the children getting excited. It's heartening to see at the end of the class when the parents are waiting and the children don't want to go!” she said.

Photo: JB
Coding for the masses
In addition to encouraging girls to take an interest in computer science, Madhumalti wants coding to be taught more widely to youngsters in Luxembourg.
Currently, a pilot computer club is offered to students at the International School Luxembourg but in other international schools and in state schools, she suggests there is scope for introducing this subject.
“If you see what we need computers for today, it is easy to see that over the years, the number of applications for it will only increase. In fact America says there are going to need 1 million programmers in the next few years and there's going to be a big deficiency of people who know how to code,” she said.
In addition to working with children, she is open to offering courses to adults, provided there is demand and she has the time.
Introduction to Computer Science: An Hour of Code for girls, will be run on March 1, from 10am to 11am at Kirchberg.
The session is FREE but spaces are limited and participants must register in advance. Book your place by emailing workshop4me@gmail.com.
For more information, please visit www.workshop4me.blogspot.com

Here's the link

Thanks to Code Club Luxembourg for tweeting about it!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014


Session 5 - Conditionals
The final session for this series was interesting in the fact that it tied up all the concepts learned and provided a recap. We talked about the difference between If, else, otherwise, while, until and when to use which conditional. It was demonstrated with a game of playing cards. Based on the colour of the card drawn, the points were awarded to the teams. Different blocks of code were shown and the participants had to go through the code to decipher which condition was met and which team got how many points.
A brief look at how Blocky code was written in JavaScript was shown and the participants then clicked on Show Code button on the site to see it after they finished their code. The participants then went back to the drag and drop coding starting where they left off.

The end of the session was 5 minutes of what went well during the sessions and what could have been better. Many children could not think of what could be made better and said they were very happy with the sessions. they felt they also learned a lot. Some of them suggested that much time should not be spent on teaching the concepts but only on coding. Although I heard that, am not completely convinced it will work especially later on when they get into more serious programming. Understanding the concept is important to be able to apply in different contexts, is what I think. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

How many ways and which is the best?

Session 4 - Algorithms

The first part of the session comprised two activities:

1. Using tangrams to teach how the computer can easily misunderstand what is being said and how important it is to give simple,clear instructions. The children enjoyed taking turns in being the computer and programmer. The computer team tried to follow instructions given by the programmer team to construct an object made from tangrams. It taught the smaller children shapes like parallelogram, and also what a hypotenuse of triangle is! After a couple of rounds in trying to get the computer team to understand what the programmer was trying to explain, they were quick and seeing how difficult it was to accomplish even a simple shape!

2.  Paper folding to make 16 rectangles in different ways, finding out which is the best way and why. For some children it was easy to get at the first go while for others it required several tries to come up with alternative ways and then decide which is most efficient.

The computer activity thereafter was from where everyone had left of. Continuing to draw shapes as the Artist, or be the Farmer, the children learnt the concept of repeat blocks, if blocks and the while block. It was interesting to hear the situations in which they would like to use the different blocks. While some children wanted to apply the concept of "efficiency" learnt to make the code shorter, others were happy as long as they cleared the level!