Finalist category: BT Young Pioneer Award
BT Young Pioneer Award, Finalist, 2017
Making coding as easy as ‘ABC’
Think you can’t code? Think again. Thirteen-year-old Joshua Lowe is passionate about programming and he says his project could get everyone coding, “especially those who think they can’t.” He’s been busy creating projects that help other people understand how important it is to use technology in their lives.
Recently, he’s been focusing on getting younger children into coding. To do this he created EduBlocks, a visual block-based programming tool that helps teachers introduce more complex programming languages like Python.
“I first started working on EduBlocks 12 months ago, when I saw there was a need for a program that would help primary school teachers bring different text-based programming languages into the classroom. It is important that younger children should have the opportunity to learn to code just as they learn to read and write,” said Joshua.
The goal of his project is to make the transition from Scratch to Python, both coding programmes, easier for students and teachers. He saw there was nothing bridging the gap. EduBlocks lets younger children code using Python, but lets them do it using an interface which is similar to Scratch. The teachers can go the edublocks.org website and download the programme on to their raspberry pi and complete different worksheets.
“My main life goal is to spread the word about coding and helping children and teachers to take their first steps with programming. I have run workshops at my local museum, Hackspaces, Raspberry Jams & Coderdojos with children who have never coded before and by the end, they have learnt how to code with Python.” Joshua told us.
He’s really busy running workshops teaching Python using EduBlocks all over the UK. He’s taught young people how to program in Python, who have never even touched a Raspberry Pi or done any coding before. They leave workshops having created cool stuff with LED’s, buzzers and Minecraft using EduBlocks & Python. EduBlocks helps to teach physical computing with the Raspberry Pi and how cheap electronics can be brought into a new life with the power of Python code and the Raspberry Pi.