The Golden Quest activityfor EU Code Week 2019

A short interview of Amine Lajmi and Adrien Elkaim from Coding Park, by Daniele Valli of Fédération de Paris de la Ligue de l’enseignement.

Preface by Daniele Valli

I discovered the Coding Park and their online platform during my research on coding activities and platforms to use in my coding and computer science workshops for the organisation where I work (La Fédération de Paris de la Ligue de l’enseignement). As a result of my research, I posted a list of online coding platforms on the EU Code Week Facebook group then I contacted directly Coding Park and I met Amine and Adrien. Just before the Code Week event I contacted Amine and I suggested to him to participate in the event. The answer was an enthusiastic “of course, we are IN!” After a short brainstorming on the phone, we came up with the idea: why not an online treasure hunt!? This is how the special “Golden Quest” activity for the Code Week 2019 came to be.

Here is a short interview with just a couple of questions I asked to Amine in order to present the activity and the pedagogical vision of the Coding Park team.

 

 

Daniele:
Hello Amine, could you please introduce Coding Park to the readers?

Amine:
Hello, Coding Park is an interactive e-learning platform that helps kids learn computational thinking with video games. We created this game-based learning environment where kids write algorithms which they execute instantly on a virtual robot named Cody in order to solve challenges.

Daniele:
Could you describe the Golden Quest workshop you created for the EU Code Week 2019?

Amine:
This year, we started our very first Code Week. The goal of the workshop was to introduce the basics of programming through a series of challenges in the world of Golden Quest, our
very first game, a universe made of robots and pirates. You control Cody, a small pirate-like robot who lands on islands, and via your coding, moves around, jumps, and digs for treasures.

Especially for Code Week, we designed a brand new treasure map. We took some challenges from our regular curriculum and designed new ones. In one of the challenges, an Easter Egg has been consciously hidden to make the Golden Quest even more engaging.

 

 

The Code Week event helped us learn a little more about how students approach textual programming, and for many of them, this way of coding was their very first time.

  • The very first challenge was to translate to French-native children the actions of the robot (left, up, fight, etc.). Once this difficulty has been overcome, the students acquire very
    quickly the robot actions and the language keywords, they are even able to recognize the words a few days after without looking to the French translation.
  • Typing on the keyboard was another challenge for some, being used to dragging visual blocks on tablet screens (e.g. Scratch), a textual editor was something new. For example, many of the
    children did not know how to insert a line break in code, so they had a tendency to delete the code below the line.
  • The students appreciated the opportunity to create their own levels, which was the opportunity for them to imagine something new, based on what they learned, and things become even more fun when they start challenging each other! Sometimes, the proposals were overcrowded with skulls or palm trees, just to make things more complex, so it was really fun. Other children made clean and smart challenges, we promised we will include some of the challenges to the regular curriculum.
  • For educators and teachers, the platform proposes a dashboard to set up coding sessions and track students progress, which we used all the long. The session configuration takes some
    time, especially when you have to enter students identifiers for the first time. Here is a screenshot of a coding session done with 13 kids.

 

 

Daniele:
Thank you Amine for your feedback, will you participate in EU Code Week next year?

Amine and Adrien:
Thank you, Daniele, this was our very first Code Week activity, we really enjoyed collaborating to the event, and I can tell you, we will continue celebrating coding all year long like we always did; we will participate next year with great pleasure of course.

Amine Lajmi and Adrien Elkaim from Coding Park: https://codingpark.io/

Daniele Valli from Fédération de Paris de la Ligue de l’enseignement: https://ligueparis.org/