Coding Wizard

November 2016 / 22/11/2016

Paul Hamilton talks about his new book and how coding can solve important problems in the world

Teachers who have introduced their students to coding will have witnessed a couple of things. Firstly, the deep level thinking and problem-solving that occurs. That expression on the students’ faces that clearly says “I’m not sure what went wrong, but I’m going to keep going until I find out!” Secondly, the excitement of executing the code and seeing what their programming has created. And thirdly, the collaborative nature of coding. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard ‘look what this does!’ or ‘how did you do that?’

Currebook-1ntly, there is a global push for coding in education. Coding is the new creation tool. It has the ability to create new products, bring people together and solve important problems in the world. However, our little learners learn concepts in many different ways. Their ability to connect concepts to their own lives is important. This book was written to fill this void. I hope our Wizard will be a stimulus for discussion, bridge the gap between the physical and digital, and provide a springboard into the magical world of coding.

So let me tell you a little about the story.

While his fellow classmates are dreaming of becoming football players, architects, and doctors, Ralph dreams of becoming a wizard and helping his family and friends. If I Were A Wizard introduces coding concepts to its readers through the enchanting imagination of a young boy. From ‘repeats and loops” to ‘algorithms’, If I Were a Wizard prompts discussion and helps build conceptual understanding.

Let’s take a look at some of the examples from the book.

In this image, we introduce our readers to the concept of repeats and loops in the non-digital world.

Repeats and loops are ways of making things happen over and over again. Our wizard creates a perfect wave and then uses his magic to repeat the wave 10 times.

What are some things that you spend a lot of time on that you would like to repeat?book-2

In another example from the book, Ralph uses his powers to help his Nan. This is a common thread to the book. The use of magic, just like code, to help others and provide solutions.

Think of variables as labels. They are great ways of keeping track of things. Nan would be helped by labels on the containers in the pantry. She would then know exactly which containers to grab in order to follow a recipe.

At the end of the book, we make connections between the imagination of the wizard and the actual coding concepts in simple terms.

Personally, some of my fondest memories in life are of reading to my girls when they were young. I still believe to this day, that their love of books, incredible imagination, and ability to look at people, places and things ‘deeply’ and from different perspectives stems from these early childhood moments of sharing great stories together. And it wasn’t just the stories that I cherished but the conversations we had as a result of the books we read together. My most recent project brings together two loves: coding and picture books.

I sincerely hope that our little wizard brings about similar, cherished moments for parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and children. It only takes a spark to ignite a passion and it only takes your imagination to create a little magic!