CodeMaker Buddy!

By Benjamin Murray

 

Hi, I’m Benjamin and I am in fourth class. I have entered my website CodeMaker Buddy www.codemakerbuddy.com  into the Mega Spiders Category.

It is a fun educational website for 6-14 year olds who are interested in learning to code or in making cool stuff using code and electronics, but need help to get started. I have been coding and making since I was 6, and wanted to use all the skills that I learned at CoderDojo and on the internet to make a website where kids could learn about technology together and help each other out.  I also wanted to show other kids that coding is great fun and easy to learn, if you know where to get started. I was lucky to have great mentors at CoderDojo, who got me started in the right direction. I truly believe that coding is magic, but that you the coder are the magician.

I called my website CodeMaker Buddy, because it has a coding section, a maker section, and a buddy section. The coding section has fun example projects created by me in Scratch, App Inventor, and Processing.js. The maker section has hardware projects with Arduino. The buddy section allows kids to post messages or questions about coding and making. They can also add comments or answers to each other’s posts. There is also a share section where kids can add snippets of code. You can find more information on the about section of my website here http://www.codemakerbuddy.com/about.

 

 

Why did you enter the Junior Spiders?

I entered the Junior Spiders because it is the best opportunity I can get to promote my website. I looked at the videos and websites from last year and it looks like great fun.

 

Why is good to have an opportunity to showcase your work?

I want to get comments and suggestions from other people so that I can make the website better.  I want to make contact with other tech kids, so that we can share ideas, code and projects, and see what each of us are working on.

 

How long did it take to make your project?

I started working on this project in October 2016, originally calling it The Maker Kid.  I entered it into the CoderDojo Future Maker competition, by making a 2 minute video. I was unsuccessful in the competition, but I did get invited by CoderDojo to showcase The Maker Kid at the BTYSTE.  That was great fun, and I got to see other kids’ projects on the CoderDojo stand. You can learn more about my day at BTYSTE here: http://www.codemakerbuddy.com/blog/post/1

After that I decided to change the name to CodeMaker Buddy as I wanted to add a way for kids to share their code and help each other out with projects. I then heard about the Junior Spiders and decided to go for it. I had never put a website live before so there was a lot to learn, like setting up the domain name and configuring the hosting server and putting my code on GitHub.  Also I had to do all the Python/Jinja2/CSS/JavaScript and SQL which was tricky, as I sometimes had a bug which took up to two evenings to fix. I was so happy when the deadline was extended to March 24th, 

Thanks Junior Spiders. You can learn more about how I made the project here at http://www.codemakerbuddy.com/blog/post/3.

 

How was it working in a team to bring your work to life?

This project is an individual project, but I did get advice from my friends and parents about how best to lay it out. My Dad also got me some books and showed me some good learning websites. I now realise that there is a lot more to making a website than just the technical stuff.  If I were part of a team we could split up the work, and have some kids work on design, layout and marketing, while others could work on the technical stuff like coding and security.

 

What do you want to do next?

Next, I want to promote my website better and get more kids blogging and putting up their projects and code. I also want to make more videos and get really good at video production.  On the tech side I want to learn Java so that I can make Android Apps. I also want to get back making more hardware projects with Arduino, Raspberry Pi and the BBC micro:bit. I have many plans to make the website better which you can read about here in the Future Enhancements section: http://www.codemakerbuddy.com/about

 

Do you want a career in IT, tech or web development?

At the moment I really love coding, engineering and maths, and as I develop my skills I hope that it will lead me to a career that I enjoy.  At present, I am assisting our Scratch teacher in school, and really enjoy mentoring and helping out. I think that all primary schools should have coding as a subject.

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