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D5 London: Doctor Who helps teach children coding

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The BBC will use the computer game 'The Doctor and the Dalek' to teach children coding at D5 London 2014.

The Doctor and the Dalek: Dr Who game cover.

The BBC’s new Doctor Who computer game will teach local children more about coding at D5, the London conference for leading digital governments. International D5 delegates will also share experiences and discuss the best way to teach code in primary schools.

Coding is when you give a sequence of instructions to a computer so you can make it do what you want to do. Children as young as 5 are able to grasp coding concepts. Learning to code strengthens their problem solving and logical thinking skills.

More and more jobs now rely on computing and coding, but conversely fewer people have the skills to fill them. D5 delegates will talk about how to avoid a global coding crisis by educating the next generation of coders.

At D5, the BBC-led coding session will use a new Doctor Who game called ‘The Doctor and the Dalek’ to help 11-year olds from Netley Primary School, Camden, London, understand more about coding. The game sees the current Doctor, Peter Capaldi, take on dangerous quests against his enemies. Anyone can play it for free on the CBBC website.

In Estonia, children have been learning to code in primary schools since the 1990s. Earlier this year, England became the first country in the world to mandate teaching coding to children at primary and secondary schools. Teaching coding as part of the curriculum has already started.

The BBC has published a range of resources for students and teachers on BBC Bitesize to coincide with the new computing curriculum in England. The resources include computer programming study guides, quizzes, games and videos. These Bitesize resources and The Doctor and the Dalek game support a range of other material, including 3 children’s TV shows, released as part of the BBC’s wider Make it Digital initiative, with more to come in 2015.

In England, there are around 900 volunteer-led after-school coding clubs for 9 to 11-year-olds.

Find out more about Code Club.

Published 3 December 2014