Coding at Home: May 22nd, Lookback Session #3

Sign up to get onto today’s lookback session, where we’ll cover the beginner playground, Code Machine!

Even if you’ve never done any programming before, so long as you have an iPad, we’ll get you set up to start your journey!

Yesterday’s Session

In yesterday’s session (part 4 of 3, yes, you read that right), we built more of our app/game aquarium.

We added a stepCounter for our fish, we added a button to add more fish, we laughed, we cried. And we definitely debugged a bit, too.

We worked on some of those esoteric skills needed in development: tracking down an issue when it looks like you have everything set up right.

New Landing Pages

We added a new landing page where you can access each one of our playlists from the past 53 videos. Hopefully this will make it easier to follow along with a given series we’ve been running.

We’ve organized them into one mega-playlist, the first one, kids.code().

The next is just the videos for the Everyone Can Code Puzzles material.

Then we have the Lights, Camera, Code playlist, which covers both the Lights, Camera, Code and the Assemble Your Camera playgrounds if you’re a little more advanced.

Lastly, we have the current playlist-in-progress: Build an Aquarium App.

So if you’ve fallen behind on the live sessions, feel free to catch up on one of the playlists.

Or… you can do that and come join us for our lookback session today at 1pm! Just sign up on the registration page!

Coding at Home: May 15th, Lookback Session #2

We’re live on a Zoom call today for our second beginner session, so make sure you register with us to get the details! The sessions are still free, just a little more personalized.

We really hope you’ll join us, I swear to you I’m not paying the folks on the session last week to say that they’ve had a ton of fun and are eager for more this week.

Yesterday’s Session & the Swift Student Challenge

We did some stuff yesterday that would get you a long way towards a submission for the Swift Student Challenge.

If you want to re-watch that session, it’s available here:

And we’ve published a new playground with the camera stuff stripped away a little bit that you can use to build out your own idea for an app.

You can get it from if you haven’t already added our playground feed, but if you’ve been taking our course it’s likely already in your More Playgrounds section.

Just tap the GET button and you’ll be able to create to your heart’s content.

We’ll also go over building an app with this playground on Monday and replicating the aquarium I built for yesterday’s session.

So sign up for the Hello, Byte Lookback sessions, designed for beginning coders, complete novices, where we go through this introductory playground at a very manageable pace, and we’ll see you today!

Otherwise, we’ll see you on Monday at 1pm, Irish time!

Coding at Home: Lookback Session #1, Hello, Byte

Today we kick off the first of our lookback sessions, designed for coders of all experience.

We’ll be covering the Hello, Byte playground.

We *won’t* be broadcasting this session on Twitch today, because this session is going to be a little more interactive with the students.

Feel free to register at so I can send you the details of the session and we can get coding!

Coding at Home: The First Lookback Session TOMORROW (May 8th)

Tomorrow (Friday, May 8th) we’re going to hold our first loopback session.

The Goal of this Session

The goal of this session is to allow folks who are maybe joining us later than from the very start, people who are finding the latest sessions far too into the deep end, or people who want a bit of practice to join in a live session with us and others to get the feel of a real, in-person class.

We’re taking registrations on simply to get you the details for the video piece of the class. The sessions, themselves, will be free, just like our live stream on Twitch.

We’ll be holding the class over Zoom, and we’ll be giving out the details to those who have registered, simply to have an idea of numbers and to better interact with students if (and when) you have questions.

We’ll be holding the class over Zoom, and we’ll be giving out the details to those who have registered, simply to have an idea of numbers and to better interact with students if (and when) you have questions.

The Material

To prepare for the session, make sure you’re set up like in our Coding at Home video. The key is to have Swift Playgrounds downloaded and, ideally, the Hello Byte playground.

I really hope you’ll take advantage of the session, I’m looking forward to seeing those already registered tomorrow.

We’ll see you tomorrow at 1pm!

Coding at Home: Friday, 27th March

We’re streaming live today at 1pm, Irish time at

Today’s Session @ 1pm Irish time

For today’s session we’re going to show you a good setup for following along with our live stream or videos and coding at the same time. We’ll also recap a little bit about functions.

If you miss any of the sessions, or simply want to re-watch them, you can check out our kids.code() playlist on YouTube.

The best place to start is with the Getting Started Video. This video will show you where to get Swift Playgrounds and the optional book, Everyone Can Code Puzzles.

We’ll see you at 1pm!

Get Creative with Code @ Dalkey Creates!

It’s been a busy October already at The Code Hub with our October Learn to Code session in full swing and a visit to Harold Boys National School for EU Code Week on Wednesday. Now we have our eyes set on Saturday, the 13th of October, for our sessions at Dalkey Creates, at Harold Boys National School in Dalkey.

Dalkey Creates
Dalkey Creates

We’re running three hour-long sessions at Dalkey Creates from 2-5pm on Saturday.

I’m particularly excited about working during the festival because I think using technology to express ourselves creatively opens up wonderful possibilities. That the festival have allowed us to run coding workshops alongside some amazing writing folks is a real treat and shows a real open mind.

Our box of goodies
Our box of goodies

We’re going to cater our work to all levels of programmers, from novices who have never coded a line or even heard of coding before to experts who are coding their own games and apps. We’ll explore some of the sensors and functionality of our iPads to place 3D characters (like our beloved Max the Fox, from Apple’s sample code). We’ll play with Sphero’s SPRK+, a little ball of a robot that lights up a room and can make slow shutter art. For all of it we’ll use Swift, which is the same programming language you can use to make apps for your iPhone, iPad, Mac, AppleTV, or Apple Watch.

Coding doesn’t have to just be about STEM, and we’re going to show you its Artsy side on Saturday. Our hope is that we introduce a new generation or two to the creative possibilities where they might have previously just seen a device for consumption.

Max the Fox
Max the Fox

Come Visit!

If you’re in Dalkey this weekend, be sure to check out any of the events on around town and then stop on by the Harold Boys school hall, where we’ll be getting creative with code!

And if you aren’t, it’s well worth a trip out on the DART, Dalkey is a gorgeous little village in South Dublin County. You might get a little bit wet with the weather, but then you can always pop by and get dry with an iPad and Swift Playgrounds…

Up Next

Up next for The Code Hub is another EU Code Week event at Loreto National School in Dalkey on Wednesday, and then we’ll be presenting two sessions at the Berlin Swift Educator Summit, put on by Apple on the Friday and Saturday. So if we don’t see you in Dalkey, maybe we’ll run into you in Berlin!

Celebrate EU Code Week with The Code Hub!

EU Code Week is coming up (where the week runs from the 6th to the 21st of October — don’t ask), are you ready?

EU Code Week and The Code Hub
EU Code Week and The Code Hub

The Code Hub will be running what are now our annual events at Harold Boys National School and Loreto National School in Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland that you can attend if you’re a student at either of those schools.

And this year we’re excited to be running three separate hour of code sessions at Dalkey Creates, a brilliant writing and creative festival in town. It’s all a part of their DC Junior & Family Fun Day program, and we can’t wait to head down there with our iPads, a few Sphero SPRK+s, and some new goodies in Swift Playgrounds.

In all the sessions we’ll explore the stuff that makes so much of our world tick: code. We’ll tell stories, play with some software turtles, and program a robot or two.

So if you’re a student and you’re in the neighborhood (well, I hope you are, at least, since it’s a school day), enjoy the sessions. And if you’re curious about coding or what we do at The Code Hub or just want to get creative, come visit us at Harold Boys National School on the 13th of October at Dalkey Creates!

Dalkey CoderDojo: Swift Programming at Fitzpatrick Castle

After all the coding sessions we ran in and around town this autumn, we decided that a one-off CoderDojo session for the Dalkey Dojo would be worth running to see if we couldn’t interest a few new mentors to join and help us run future sessions.

Setting up the iPads
Setting up the iPads

I managed to borrow 15 beautiful 12.9″ iPad Pros off the folks at Apple and we booked a two hour session at the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel, where we normally hold our sessions. But instead of an Arduino focus, which is the usual subject matter at the dojo, we were going to let the kids explore Swift and Swift Playgrounds:

The ninjas will be able to explore coding with Swift to a variety of ends. They can learn the fundamentals of coding, they will be able to use code to master drawing with simple commands, they can program a robot in a variety of ways, or they can play with augmented reality and code.
As far as material went, we used some of the new challenge cards Michael O’Kane developed, like the Titanic Journey Challenge, the Traffic Lights Challenge, and his cool Roald Dahl Challenge.

Our Swift Stations

In addition to those exercises, we had the new, just released Hour of Code Swift Playground to play with, the previous one, the Rock, Paper, Scissors playground (all of which you can get yourself when you add a new Swift Playground and go to the Challenges tab). We also had a couple Sphero SPRK+s, which were a huge hit with the kids (I only have two and had to implement a queue for the kids waiting somewhat patiently for the chance to play around with them). And then we had two playgrounds of my own making, the ARKit one with Max the fox, and my new Fundamentals of Programming Swift Playground.
All in all, it was a fun, programming-packed two and and half hours, even, if, by the last fifteen minutes or so we wound up with some programming fatigue and started getting creative in… other ways:

iPads, All the Way Down
iPads, All the Way Down

European Code Week, Part Two

So in addition to the hour of code at Harold Boys’ National School in Dalkey, I also ran an hour of code event down at Loreto Primary School in Dalkey.

Loreto Primary School

This one happened after the excellent DojoCon2017 in Warrington, and was the capper on a pretty code-heavy month.

There was a ton of parental support – 10 parents! – which is always great to see, but we also covered 2nd class through 6th, a total of 10 classrooms full of students. Since we did Minecraft with them last year, I wanted to have them work on something a little different. The school is equipped with Microsoft and Samsung tablets, so I had them go back to the well and we did the Anna and Elsa Hour of Code challenge for everybody except the second class (who got to do Minecraft).

Due to other commitments (like DojoCon and the other Hour of Code session in town), we didn’t do a presentation like last year, but instead I demo’d Max the fox, from my ARKit playground, and nearly got trampled each and every time as all the kids ran up to first see the fox and then stand in front of the camera so that their friends could see Max standing on top of them.

The girls were amazing, as were the parent volunteers, and I really appreciate the willingness and eagerness of all the teachers I’ve run into in these last two years to try something new out in the classroom and engage with the technology themselves, all in the name of exposing the students to new avenues of learning.

European Code “Week”

European Code Week is this 7th of October through the 22nd (this is a week by European standards? In binary? I blame ex-Hurricane Ophelia for sending us time traveling so that we only actually got 7 days during that span of the calendar).

Ready to go at Harold Boys'
Ready to go at Harold Boys’

The boys at Harold Boys’ National School in Dalkey have already written up this event, but they ran through an Hour of Code with the basketball-building game at I like Codesters Python editor because the boys were led down a path to writing Python code, with all of its idiosyncrasies, in a pretty gentle manner; the kids can drag and drop methods and variables from the library on the left before they’re ready to start typing, and Python’s indentation-based structure can be tough to pick up in the span of an hour. Last spring we had run an hour of code with the same boys with a block-based Pong-building game, so I was really hoping to get them thinking more about the text and able to affect things like the forces at work on the ball when they used the left and down arrow keys and the placement of objects on the 2D grid.

The session was a big step up from last year’s, though I was happy to hear quite a few “yes!”‘s and see a couple eureka moments for a couple kids.

If you’re looking to run your own Hour of Code with kids who’ve touched on the coordinate plane, a little tiny bit of physics (just to understand the terminology and why the ball might behave in a certain way), and a tiny bit of algebra, maybe, this is a good coding session to run. And even without that knowledge a quick sketch on the whiteboard of a grid with x and y coordinates (0,0 in the center for this lesson), another quick sketch to explain force in different directions and what that might do to an object, and then a last talk about variables being a bit like a box that can hold different things, an easy way to refer to something that might change will help the boys realize how some of the stuff they’re learning (or will learn) can help them write their own games or programs.

Next up for code week is a session with the girls down at Loreto in Dalkey!