With technology becoming an integral part of our life, coding is now an indispensable tool and a world language. To promote the importance of coding education, Esperanza organized “Code for Fun” on 22 Jan 2022 together with its coding school partner R-Kids.
Acquiring Life Skills through Coding
“Learning to code is not just for those aspiring to becoming programmers or pursuing a technology career. It is essential because it helps build problem solving and many important life skills,” said John C Tsang, Founder of Esperanza at the opening of the event. Last year Esperanza introduced CoderZ, an award winning virtual coding, robotics and STEM learning platform, to Hong Kong schools. Two winning teams of the Junior and Pro Divisions represented Hong Kong in the CoderZ League World Finals on 12 Jan 2022. The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education (HKAGE) Team became the final four. Students aged 11 -14 competed against the US and Ghana teams and won the third place in the Pro Division.
Apart from computer science, participating students also learn Mathmatics, Physics and English from CoderZ. More importantly, they acquire important life skills including collaboration, communication, problem solving, time management, persistence and last but not least, learning from failure.
Six Teenagers from HKAGE
Snatch Third Place in Coding Competition World Finals
The youngest team member LUI Yuen Chit (11 years old) was the Team Captain of Skydragon. At his young age, he managed the team to work out a schedule for his team mates to submit coding inputs, consolidated the best parts and conducted debugging tests repeatedly. “I would like to continue the learning as I want to do better,” he said.
It was the first time the 12-year-old TSANG Tsz Hin participated in an international coding competition. He believes coding is a means of communicating with computers and an essential skill for the future. “I enjoyed working out competition strategies with my teammates until late at night. He has learnt from the opponent how to use the parabola equation to get high scores. He would like to improve his strategies in future. The students had a lot of fun learning coding and STEM and hope that coding could be included in the regular school curriculum.
CEOs Challenging Primary School Students
Apart from the Junior and Pro Divisions, a highlight of the event was a team of CEOs battling against the winning team of the Novice Division. They include: Mr Daniel Cheng, Chief Investment Office, BlueTop Group/Director, Esperanza; Ms Cindy Chow, Executive Director, Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund HK; Ms Randy Lai, CEO, McDonald’s HK; Mr Fred Ngan, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, BowTie Insurance; Mr Isaac Shao, Executive, Head of Unification & Transformation, Asia, SEEK Group and Mr Peter Yan, CEO, Cyberport Management Company.
The competition was divided into two rounds, and each round has three missions. The missions simulate a logistics scene. Robots move goods, cross shelves and obstacles. The team that took the shortest route and time to complete the mission would be the winner. The competition was fierce. Each team won one round and in the end the student team beat the CEO team by a narrow margin of 23 seconds.
All the CEOs are new to coding. “I am pleased to have the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone and learn together with students”, said Randy. With digital transformation becoming an important priority of many companies, she thinks it is important for business leaders learn coding. Leading the CEO team, Daniel said they were not ashamed of losing to the brilliant students. Through the competition, the CEOs want to set a good example for their staff. “Coding is actually not that difficult. It is fun and addictive. And practice makes perfect” said Fred. Peter has learnt the importance of making things simple. Cindy emphasised that everyone, boys and girls alike, should embrace coding as it is all around us in daily life. She is new to coding and treasures the experience this time.
Coding Education Starts from the Family
Dr Ray Cheung of the City University of Hong Kong facilitated a panel with Felix Kan, Partner PwC, Risk Assurance Cybersecurity Privacy practice and Bianca Ho, Co-Founder and COO of Clare.AI and WATI.io. Using learning language as an analogy, Felix highlighted the importance of learning from a young age and starting from the family learning together with a simple website/app. With the low-code/no-code development, Bianca Ho pointed out that it is no longer necessary to write every line of code with indepth programming knowledge. The drag and drop function of CoderZ is an example. Dr Ray appeal to the parents in the audience that they had to catch up with their digital native children lest they would become irrelevant with times. He introduced the Hour of Code HK which aims to mainstream coding education in Hong Kong. It runs regular weekend activities for parents to learn the basics of coding with their children.
Through “An Hour of Code with CoderZ”, parents, teachers and students learnt the basics of coding from Dr Ray Cheung at Code for Fun. The kids found the coding platform fun and easy to learn. “We would like to let the community know that coding nowadays is easy to master. Parents should learn together with their children,” said Isaac.
Bringing the best from around the world to Hong Kong
Since its establishment in 2018, Esperanza has been advocating the importance of education innovation. Through the annual Edventures GBA Fellowship, Esperanza has been introducing international and innovative learning solutions to Hong Kong. CoderZ was a 2020 Edventures GBA Fellow. “We are pleased to be given the opportunity for Hong Kong students to learn and shine on the international age,’ said Dr Jimmy Wong, Executive Director of HKAGE.
“We have used CoderZ as a virtual robotics learning platform since the beginning of the pandemic. CoderZ’s mission-driven and self-directed learning approach is closely aligned with our philosophy. We also like its comprehensive syllabus catering to different levels of students. Its international tournament enabling students to learn from peers from around the world is a big attraction. The class management and student tracking systems of CoderZ are also superior to other similar platforms. We certainly recommend CoderZ to more schools,” concluded Vincent Au, Founder of R-Kids.