EU Code Week: Play Your Own Game

NOW we’re talking! Let’s get down to games!

The number one question I get in my coding classes is from wide-eyed students, who come up to me and say, “Hang on… with this stuff, can I write games?”

And the answer is, “Def. Initely.”

And you can, too, at 9:45, Irish/UK time!


We start with a good, old-fashioned game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Steve will play a quick game with you all (so get your hands ready!) and we’ll visit with a school in Sweden, as well.

Be sure to send in which object you pick (rock, paper, or scissors) in the live chat so there’s no cheating! 😉


After all the excitement of playing games live and figuring out how the game play works, we’re going to move to the Rock, Paper, Scissors playground and actually code our own!

Because there’s been a chunk of code written for us we’ll have a great time taking apart their code, adding to it, changing it, like good, real developers.

Can you guess from which literary classic these opponents come?

In our final version of the game we’ll even add a theme to it, maybe to get it to fit into our classroom reading a bit better.


To get more context and other ideas for extending your coding knowledge from today’s lesson, visit the day’s page at

We’ve had so, so much fun this first week, and we’re going to do it all again next week!

So whether you want to watch it live with us at 9:45, Irish/UK time or catch it later, we think it’s a great way to get a taster of coding on your iPads in the classroom (or at home).

And if you’re coming tomorrow, we’ll be live at 9:45am, Irish/UK time!

EU Code Week: Track the Gems

Big day for us today, I hope you’ll join us live at 9:45am, Irish/UK time!

You can give your poor, tired legs a break today, as we’ll be thinking about our dances of the last few days more than doing them.


Steve is going to get you thinking about your dance in terms of variables today.

This is a big part of computational thinking: we break down things into smaller pieces to try and understand how we interact with them, where we might store information, what steps we follow.

So put your dancing shoes away for the day!

Learn to Code 2

Learn to Code 2

The huge step we’re going to be taking today isn’t on the dance floor; it’s in Swift Playgrounds. We’ll start with a page or two from the Learn to Code 2 playground where we explore variables.

I love loops for the power they give us: write code and have Swift run it over and over again. Variables are a great tool for storing our information that we want to use in our app. We can collect that information from the person using our app, from a website, from some other piece of code.

I’ll teach you how to use variables today to count the number of gems we get Byte to collect.

You can check out the mini-site to see what we’re going to do, in depth, for Thursday. You’ll even see ideas to take variables further in the “Extend” section.


We’ve got a special guest school today who show off their coding skills and computational thinking from just down the road: Loreto Abbey Dalkey!

See you on the broadcast!

EU Code Week: Go Loopy

We’re back again today, a bit like a loop, in fact!

Join us at 9:45am Irish/UK time.

We hope you didn’t work up too much of a sweat yesterday with the dancing, because we’re back dancing again today.


Steve is going to be a HUGE hit today, because he’s going to take us through some fun dance moves. You might even recognise some of the dances we’re going to try.

And we have a special guest school today, from the Netherlands, De Stapsteen. They’ll be showing off their own moves and having a chat with us at the end.


For the coding portion we’ll be covering one of my favourite programming concepts: loops!

Using loops you can come up with some really amazing results, like in this turtle graphics example above or when you’re solving a problem that has some repetitive tasks associated to it.

The syntax may look a little odd, but we’ll get some practice in and hopefully it’ll feel a little more normal by the time we’re done.

See you on the broadcast!

EU Code Week: Get Groovy!

Have we got a good one for you today!

Today is all about dancing. Steve will take you on a journey around Newcastle, dancing the session away!

Join us live for it at 9:45am, Irish/UK time!

Dance: The Code Week 2020 Theme

CC Sarah from Brizzzzzle

This year’s code week theme is all about dance, which makes today pretty much smack dab on topic. Steve will teach you the dance to the EU Code Week theme (which you can hear playing in our intro). There are a lot of moves, so you’ll want to practice!

Just like yesterday, we’ll talk about the steps involved and how important it is to follow them in order.


Because there are so many steps that we have to repeat, we might want to find a way to build our own codeWeekDance() function. A function is the same thing as a command, and we’ll show you how to write them today.

When we write functions, what we’re doing is figuring out a set of steps we want to perform, potentially many times. And by grouping all these steps together and giving them a helpful name (like codeWeekDance()) the code we write is getting even more useful.

Now, like we used commands like moveForward() and collectGem(), someone would be able to use the functions we’ve defined in our Swift Playground!

Meet Jimu, the dancing robot

This is big, exciting stuff, as you’ll have learned another key tool coders use every day to solve problems.

I can’t wait to show you all this new piece of coding. We’ll see you on the live stream!

EU Code Week: Here at Last!

(Screenshot taken the night before, obviously!)

Well, today’s the day we’ve all been waiting for, the start of EU Code Week (well, for us)!

Join us LIVE, today at 9:45am, Irish/UK time!

Day One: Meet Byte

Like I’ve mentioned elsewhere, we’ll meet Byte today on Swift Playgrounds and learn a little bit about commands, the building block in our programming toolbox.

We’ve got origami paper dancers, we’ve got all kinds of stuff for you!

So bring your crayons, your problem-solving skills, a couple pieces of paper, and your coding fingers, because you’re going to need all of that and more tomorrow.

Logging On

At 9:45am we’ll kick things off on the YouTube channel, just follow the link at and it’ll take care of the rest. If you have questions, make sure you or someone you can bother to ask questions has a YouTube account.

We’ll spend the first 10 minutes on unplugged activities. Then we’ll move to the iPad and get some coding done.

But we will definitely and without a doubt, get to questions at the end.

I’ve discussed the material we’ll be covering ad nauseam, but you can get the PDF we’re working from at The mini-site also has a breakdown of all the things we’ll be doing today.

I’m very excited that you’ll be joining us for EU Code Week in some shape or form, and we’ll see you on the live feed!

EU Code Week: Day One, We Begin!

Are you ready for some coding?

Monday morning we’ll be kicking off our Follow-Along Coding sessions with Swift and iPads!

We’ve got a really fun session lined up.

The Theme

Learn to Code 1 playground
Meet Byte

The theme today is all about commands and introducing you to Swift Playgrounds.

We’ll meet Byte, our coding buddy throughout Learn to Code 1 and 2.

But before we jump straight into coding, we’ll do something away from the screen for a second.


Steve has an amazing unplugged activity in store for you: origami paper dancer.

We use these ‘unplugged’ activities as ways of introducing computational thinking and computational concepts without even using screens or devices. So if you don’t have iPads for everyone, or maybe the kids need a break, these activities get you up out of your chair and interacting with your classmates.


You’ll need Swift Playgrounds and the Learn to Code 1 playground on your iPad to follow along with the code. You can see how to download all of these things in our video, “How to prepare for Quick Start to Code for EU Code Week.”

We’ll walk through these early pages with you on Monday morning.

I can’t wait to get started coding with you and I hope you’re excited, too.

You can find out all the gory details on our mini-site for day one, and we’ll see you online!

We’ll be live on Monday morning from

EU Code Week: Coping!

EU Code Week is nearly upon us and I’m sure, for many of you, your head has been all over the place this school year!

This surely has been an unprecedented return to school, and our sessions being online this year are a testament to that.

Running these Sessions in Class

With all the craziness, we understand that you may not get to log in exactly at 9:45am (Irish/UK time) and spend 45 glorious minutes learning about unplugged activities and coding in Swift Playgrounds.

Looking at Dalkey Island from Loreto Abbey Secondary School in Dalkey, Ireland

It’s been a hectic autumn and I have no doubt many of you are working on coping, never mind coding!

These sessions are designed to put your mind at ease and introduce your students to coding in an easy and engaging manner. But we’re not just focused on the coding piece.

In terms of running these sessions in your classroom, if you’re wrestling with WiFi availability, having to wear masks or not wear masks, struggling with keeping the rooms clean and together, you don’t have to run them live with us.

Sure, it’s an added bonus if you can, because you could ask questions if they arise in near real-time. But if you want to introduce coding to your students outside of the hours we’re running the sessions, we’ll post the recording from that day’s session to the relevant page on the mini-site.

EU Code Week Video Playlist

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve posted a playlist page, which will also have all of the sessions we record for you to play back at your leisure, either in class, or to have your students with their own iPads to try at home.

Whatever way you join us, I can’t wait to show you some of the cool stuff you can do with your students (or for yourself!) with Swift Playgrounds.

EU Code Week: Catch Up and Get Ready

So our “How to” session is in the books. If you didn’t manage to catch our live session, you can watch the recording.

We covered the rough outline of the sessions, what will happen each day and also what’ll happen each of the five weekdays.

Daily Format

Each day we’ll start with:

  • a little intro to the session, and then…
  • Steve will launch into the unplugged session, followed by
  • some coding on the iPad, finished off with
  • a Q & A session

Our guest schools will make an appearance in there in one of the segments.

To help you manage your time, if you’re following along in a classroom, we’ll have a countdown timer in the lower right hand corner of the screen, so you know when we’re nearly finished a segment.

Weekly Format

For the week, we’ll be following select days from the A Quick Start to Code PDF from Apple.

  • Monday, we’ll Meet Byte (commands)
  • Tuesday, we’ll Get groovy (functions)
  • Wednesday, it’s time to Get loopy (loops)
  • Thursday, we Track the gems (variables)
  • Friday, we Play our own game (putting it all together)


All this will be appearing on YouTube, where we’ll be live streaming each morning at 9:45am, Irish/UK time.

If you missed the setup session, or any sessions, you can catch up on our playlist page, where we’ll keep all of our sessions, including the set up ones, for EU Code Week.

Grab some popcorn, catch up, and we’ll see you Monday morning!

EU Code Week: Let’s Go, Teachers!

Here we go, EU Code Week begins early!

We’ll be live today at 4pm, Irish/UK time, talking about how to host these coding sessions in your own classroom.

You can still register, though it’s not necessary:

A Smooth Sailing

The goal of today’s session is to answer any questions you might have about the coding sessions. We’ll cover how to teach them in class, what gotchas to look out for, and when we’ll be live.

Of course, we have the mini-site, which we’ll show off, but it’s always helpful to have a guide along with you.

No matter the level of coding experience you or your students have, we’ll explain what material we have to offer, and how to tailor it to your experience level. We have ways to challenge advanced students, and ‘unplugged’ sessions to bring computing concepts home in a tactile way.

Your perfect classroom setup

The Place and Time for Questions

We’ll have time during our live follow-along coding sessions, but tomorrow is just for the teachers. Do you have questions about running this in class? What do you need? How long should you budget? Will you be able to follow along?

We’ll address all of those questions tomorrow (but the short answers are: iPads, 45 minutes or so, yes, definitely), and any others you might have.

So grab a cup of tea or coffee after school, hit up, and we’ll give you the inside scoop on how you can get your class coding for EU Code Week.

EU Code Week: Get Your iPad Set Up

By now, you know EU Code Week is coming, you can feel it like a train coming down the tracks.

In order to help you get set up in advance, I’ve made a short video (6 minutes) to help you make sure you have all you need on your iPad to follow-along with us as we code each day of the week.

The video is called “How to prepare for Quick Start to Code for EU Code Week” and you can watch it at that URL above or inline, below:

For Teachers

Now, if you’re a teacher, running this in class during EU Code Week (or at a later date), you’ll want to do the above for you and your students, for sure. But there might be other things you need to set up. Or to understand about the session to be ready for anything.

If so, feel free to come along to our session on October 6th at 4pm, Irish/UK time! Just register here, and join us on the live stream at 4pm on Tuesday at

Registration and attendance are free and we’ll focus on what you need to run these sessions in class.

You’ll have the chance to ask questions via the live chat in YouTube.

Different Learning Styles

Maybe video isn’t your thing. If so, you can also read instructions for setting up your class or your home for the sessions.

October 12th, 9:45am, Irish/UK time

The big kick-off is Monday, October 12th at 9:45am. We’ll see you then!