Wycombe Abbey: Preparing the Next Generation of Tech Innovators
Learning how to code is no longer reserved for tech aficionados and computer science majors.
Children coding classes in Hong Kong have become a popular subject, with many online platforms and websites making coding easy and accessible.
With an increasing emphasis on digital literacy, equipping young ones with coding skills can provide them a significant advantage in the tech-driven world.
At Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong, we’ve placed significant emphasis on teaching our children the benefits of being able to code by teaching them digital literacy and information literacy.
The information literacy we teach involves understanding and effectively using tools like ChatGPT and AI.
This article is a guide relating to the benefits of Children coding education, as well as providing free online coding resources suitable for Children in Hong Kong. Dive in to find out why coding is a must-learn, especially when deciding on a school for your child.
- 1. What Makes Coding Essential for Children and Teens?
- 2. Our (Unique) Approach to Coding
- 3. WASHK: Hong Kong’s First Microsoft Showcase School!
- 4. Preparing our Children for Education Abroad
- 5. Comprehensive List of Computer Languages for Children
- 6. Free Coding Courses for Children
- 7. Top Tip for Getting Your Children Interested in Coding Classes
- 8. The Wycombe Abbey Children Coding Assessment
- 9. Conclusion
What Makes Coding Essential for Children and Teens?
Coding is no longer just about computer programming; it's about problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
When Children and teens learn coding, they develop computational thinking and analytical skills, vital for their academic and future careers.
The Hong Kong government has long recognised the importance of digital literacy and computational thinking in the era of rapid technological advancement. As such, they've made strides to support Children' coding education, both through the formal school curriculum and other initiatives.
The Education Bureau of Hong Kong has introduced coding and computational thinking into the primary and secondary curriculums and at WASHK, we’ve integrated these skills into our iSTEAM syllabus.
Our (Unique) Approach to Coding
At Wycombe Abbey, we are committed to empowering students through digital literacy and information literacy, twin pillars that lay the groundwork for a technologically proficient future.
Information literacy isn't merely about accumulating data; it's about understanding and adeptly utilizing cutting-edge tools like ChatGPT and AI to navigate an ever-complex world.
When it comes to technical skills, coding serves as a cornerstone in our educational framework.
However, we look beyond teaching just syntax; coding for us is a process of creating intricate formulas that solve complex puzzles using algorithms. This philosophical approach is anchored in imparting transferable skills—abstraction, decomposition, evaluation, and algorithmic thinking—that transcend the boundaries of programming languages.
We guide children not merely to code, but to understand and implement algorithms based on pattern recognition, to recognize existing patterns, and to originate their own patterns through algorithmic thinking.
In tandem with these hard skills, we also teach 21st Century Learning Design (21CLD) skills.
The 21CLD framework was developed by Microsoft in collaboration with various educational experts. The framework consists of six domains that are designed to prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, these are:
- 1. Collaboration
- 2. Knowledge Construction
- 3. Self-regulation
- 4. Real-World Problem Solving
- 5. Use of ICT for Learning
- 6. Innovative Design and Creativity
By integrating these skills into the curriculum, we are preparing our children for success in the 21st century workforce and society.
WASHK: Hong Kong’s First Microsoft Showcase School!
We are extremely proud and honoured to be the first private school in Hong Kong to be awarded the "Microsoft Showcase School" status.
Microsoft Showcase Schools are a global community of schools that have taken a transformational approach to enhancing teaching and learning, frequently by incorporating technology and creative teaching practices. Microsoft has recognized these schools for their dedication to educational evolution and efforts to provide immersive and inclusive experiences that encourage lifelong learning and promote the development of critical life skills.
Preparing our Children for Education Abroad
We understand that teaching children to code provides them with a fundamental skill set that goes beyond simple technological competence in today's quickly advancing digital society.
Teaching Children to code has become a necessity. Coding allows children to bring their ideas to life through programs and apps, it encourages creativity while also improving children's ability to solve problems logically and think critically.
In addition, coding skills grow increasingly relevant as more and more businesses use technology, which in turn creates a wide variety of prospects for employment.
The School emphasises its commitment to a broad and international school education including fourteen primary subjects. The teaching methods, experience and heritage enables Wycombe Abbey School Hong Kong to steer their departing pupils to top British independent schools as well as outstanding secondary schools in Hong Kong.
Where our Graduates go:
- 1.Badminton School
- 2. Bedford School
- 3. Belmont Mill Hill School
- 4. Beneden School
- 5. Brockhurst School
- 6. Bryanstan School
- 7. Caterham School
- 8. Cheltenham College
- 9. Cheltenham Ladies College
- 10. City of London School for Girls
- 11. Clifton College
- 12. Cottesmore School
- 13. Handcross Park School
- 14. King’s School Rochester
- 15. Lancing College
- 16. Malvern S. James Girl’s School
- 17. Mayfield School
- 18. Queens College
- 19. Roedean School
- 20. Rugby School
- 21. Sherborne Girls’ College
- 22. St. Joseph’s College, Ipswich
- 23. St. Mary’s Calne
- 24. The Harrodian School
- 25. Westonbirt School
- 26. Woldingham School
- 27. Wycombe Abbey UK
Comprehensive List of Computer Languages for Children
The online landscape is rife with tutorials and coding courses tailored for beginners.
Children coding classes in Hong Kong mostly teach the same coding languages that are typically designed to be intuitive and visual, allowing young learners to grasp programming concepts without getting bogged down by complex syntax.
Here's a list of coding languages and platforms suitable for Children.
- Scratch: A visual programming language where Children can drag and drop blocks to create animations, games, and interactive stories. Suitable for ages 7 and up.
- Blockly: Developed by Google, it's a visual code editor that uses blocks that link together. It can be used to generate readable code in several programming languages.
- Alice: A 3D programming environment that helps Children create animations, interactive games, or videos to share on the web.
- Tynker: A coding platform for Children that offers game-based courses where Children can learn to program drones, robots, and games.
- Kodu Game Lab: Developed by Microsoft, it allows Children to create games on the PC and Xbox via a simple visual programming language.
- Hopscotch: An iPad app where Children can use simple, intuitive building blocks to create games, art, stories, and more.
- Python: While not exclusively for Children, Python is known for its simplicity and readability, making it a good first text-based language for older Children and teens.
- Swift Playgrounds: An iPad app designed by Apple to teach Children how to code in Swift, Apple's programming language, through interactive puzzles.
- Java (with Minecraft): Children who love Minecraft can use the Java version to learn coding by creating mods.
- RoboBlockly: A visual programming language for learning science, math, and computer science in an integrated way.
- Lua (with Roblox): Lua is the language behind Roblox, a popular game-making platform. Children can create games and sell them on the Roblox platform.
- Ruby (with ChildrenRuby): ChildrenRuby makes learning Ruby fun and interactive for Children.
- GoDot: A game engine that uses its scripting language similar to Python, ideal for teens interested in game development.
Free Coding Courses for Children
Whilst we would recommend in-person Children coding tuition in Hong Kong, there are plenty of online (and free) resources to get your child started with understanding code.
Here are two platforms that we recommend for introducing your child to learning how to code:
What’s the difference between Code.org vs the Khan Academy?
Code.org stands out for its comprehensive curriculum, from basic coding concepts to AP computer science courses. Code.org, an award-winning coding platform, turns learning into play. Their 'Hour of Code' initiative uses puzzles and interactive stories to teach coding, making it easier for Children as young as six to understand coding concepts.
Meanwhile, the Khan Academy introduces coding in an interactive manner, perfect for beginners. Also, we like the Khan Academy because it offers interactive, step-by-step video tutorials and challenges in coding, making it an engaging and effective platform for Children to grasp the fundamentals of programming.
As mentioned however, owing to the subject-matter, Children coding education is always better in person. Direct interactions enable students to brainstorm, debug, and share coding strategies more effectively, fostering a deeper understanding of the code.
Top Tip for Getting Your Children Interested in Coding Classes
If you’re struggling to get your kid interested in coding classes - then encourage them to play Minecraft!
Minecraft is one of the most popular video games in the world, with over 260 million copies sold across all platforms as of 2023 and a vast, dedicated player community that spans across age groups and cultures.
Its sandbox nature, which allows players to build, explore, and modify virtual landscapes, has solidified the educational aspect that children can attain when playing Minecraft.
Of particular interest is this: local Minecraft enthusiasts have created detailed replicas of parts of Hong Kong within the game!
These in-game models can be incredibly detailed, capturing the unique architecture and vibrancy of our city!
The Wycombe Abbey Children Coding Assessment
Our pupils are assessed continuously on a skills based criterion (ICT and STEAM), mainly for KS1 and for KS2 (including homework). KS3 is assessed (in addition), with homework assignments, quizzes and short tests.
Using TinkerCAD, Minecraft Education to code and build digitally, Coding the Raspberry Pi, Arduino and the BBC microbit, Using 3D printers, cutting with a laser & flying drones.
At Wycombe Abbey, we recognise the pivotal role of technology in the future and places significant emphasis on equipping its students with coding skills from a young age.
This is especially important with regards to preparing our children for studies abroad.
Understanding that today's young minds are tomorrow's innovators, the school has seamlessly integrated coding into its curriculum, ensuring that students receive both foundational and advanced knowledge in the realm of computer programming.
Our pupils in our Pok Fu Lam campus, are exposed to regular coding sessions through our iSTEAM (Innovation, Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) approach, which interlinks various disciplines.
Mr Shahzada Janjua, with over 20 years of teaching experience, is the Head of iSTEAM at the school teaches three iSTEAM-related lessons weekly: one for coding and two for iSTEAM.
Our objective with teaching children how to code is focused on creating a holistic educational experience that emphasizes problem-solving and critical thinking.
Our state-of-the-art facilities, such as our dedicated classrooms equipped with advanced coding tools and devices, further demonstrate the school's commitment.
Ultimately, Wycombe Abbey School in Hong Kong sees Children coding classes not just as “a subject”, but as an essential skill set, preparing students to thrive in a tech-driven future.
For more information, please don't hesitate to book a visit at Wycombe Abbey Hong Kong!