What is Visual Coding?

In September we’re launching three coding courses. Two visual courses for children aged 6-8 and 8-10 and one text-based course in Python for children aged 10-13.

There are so many coding courses out there, how are they different? And what is visual coding?

Let’s take quick look at two examples. One text-based and one visual.

Adding two numbers. In Python (left) and Scratch (right.)

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The scratch one involves no typing, just dragging and dropping the coloured blocks, so it’s easy for young children to pick up. The Python example is completely typed and you need to be careful with typos, the computer will not know how to deal with them.

Now let’s have a look at Crumble.

Our Crumble courses introduce children to robotics using the Crumblebot. Children who’ve come to our Day Camps will have had fun learning with these before.

Crumble is a visual coding language:

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This sample code makes the robot drive in a circle for 4 seconds before stopping. Only the motor speeds and the ‘4.0’ need to be typed, the rest is built by dragging the coloured blocks into place.

The purpose of visual programming languages is to give children a low-friction introduction to key coding concepts without getting bogged down in fiddly details. For example in Python, a misplaced bracket will stop the program from working. In Crumble or Scratch it’s impossible to make those sorts of elementary mistakes. Children can instantly see the logic of their own code and see why it works, or doesn’t, right away.

Despite it’s simplicity visual coding allows you to build quite sophisticated programs, it makes use of most of the advanced concepts typed languages use, logic, variables, iteration etc.

Here’s one of the more complex programs we use. This one makes the robot follow a line of black tape on the floor using two infrared line sensors!

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Stay tuned for more information on our coding courses!