Q: ARE COURSES/SUMMER CAMPS SUITABLE FOR NEW STUDENTS/EXPERIENCED CODERS?
A: All our courses and summer camps are suitable for almost all students.
Those who have never done any coding before will start with the absolute basics. Students who have been with us before (or who have learned coding elsewhere) will work on more advanced material suitable for their own level of experience.
We don't offer specific facilities for students with special educational needs, but in many cases those used to mainstream classes will progress just fine in our classes. The 8:1 student:teacher ratio is extremely helpful for those students. If in doubt please contact us and we're happy to discuss further.
Q: DOES MY CHILD NEED TO HAVE A CERTAIN MINIMUM LEVEL OF KNOWLEDGE TO COME TO THE COURSE?
A: We expect that all students will have at least used a computer before (or seen one from across a room), but beyond that no experience is assumed or required.
Courses are also broadly suitable for students of all abilities, but we would caution that students with special needs who are not in mainstream classes, or who have significant extra resources to enable them to participate in mainstream classes, may struggle in certain scenarios. While groups are kept small, students who are used to having assistance beside them at all times may find the change difficult. We strongly advise you to Contact Us before registration to ensure that the course is suitable in these situations.
Please note that we are very happy to accommodate, where possible and appropriate, special needs assistance such as tutors on the July Provision scheme attending with their students. We do ask that you contact us ahead of time to arrange this, as we are obliged by law to ensure the vetting of all adults present while our courses are running.
Q: WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE CLASSES FOR DIFFERENT AGE GROUPS?
A: For our youngest age group (2nd-4th class) we focus on Scratch, a drag and drop programming language suitable for students who aren't quite ready for more advanced coding languages.
For the 5th-6th class age group, and for the secondary school group, our main teaching language is Processing, a Java-based programming language built for 2D and 3D graphics work. Secondary school classes run for 90 minutes, as against 60 minutes for all primary school classes.
There will be other modules offered over the course of the module tailored to each age group. These may include other programming languages, electronics, music technology, 3D modelling/printing and more.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO TEACHING? DO YOU USE DRAG-AND-DROP PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES LIKE “SCRATCH”?
A: For our youngest group of students (2nd-4th class) we run classes in computational thinking, primarily using Scratch. These allow younger students to learn about problem solving and logic without tripping up on syntax rules which they might have some trouble with.
For older students our main teaching language is "Processing", a graphical framework built on Java. We believe in exposing students to "real" code as young as practical (which we think is around 5th class). Processing has the advantage of scaling extremely well, in that underneath the friendly exterior it's full-featured Java (one of the most popular languages on the planet). This means that we can keep building on what they've learned term after term, without ever having to switch to a more "grown up" language. Long before they've run out of things to learn in Java, they're ready to get a job!
Q: CAN I SEND MY CHILD TO A CLASS EVEN IF THEY AREN’T YET IN 2ND CLASS/ARE TOO YOUNG FOR THE STATED AGE GROUPS?
A: Our experience is that most children simply aren’t ready for our classes in 1st class. The youngest group spans 2nd-4th class, so it’s a really big ask for a 1st class student to join that group and keep up! While we don’t set firm age limits, we would strongly advise children wait until 2nd class to join.
For older students looking to join a class above their age grade (eg 6th class students looking to join a secondary school group) we highly recommend students at least start with their own age group. If they want to move up an age group having experienced their own class we are happy to discuss that on a case by case basis.
Q: I MISSED THE SIGNUP DATE. DO YOU TAKE BEGINNERS AT ANY POINT IN THE YEAR?
A: Ideally we take new students only in September and in January, and no later than the second week of term in those months. We are quite strict with that for primary school classes. For secondary school groups, where the classes are sometimes a little looser and students can be a little more self-directed, we can sometimes bend this rule a little. Please contact us directly to discuss further.
Q: CAN STUDENTS ATTEND MORE THAN ONE CAMP/COURSE? WILL THEY JUST BE REPEATING THE SAME MATERIAL?
A: Students can absolutely attend more than one week of camp. They will move ahead at their own pace, and we have plenty of material to keep them busy. For term time courses we do welcome students attending more than one class per week, and will work to ensure that they are kept busy and engaged at all times.
Students can and do work ahead on their own at home too, which is certainly to be encouraged. We will always provide as much support as possible to students progressing ahead of the main group.
Q: CLASS TIMETABLES NO LONGER INCLUDE SEPARATE ADVANCED CLASSES. HOW DO STUDENTS NOW PROGRESS THROUGH GRADES?
A: In order to simplify the registration process we no longer timetable based on gradings. All students register based on their age group, and we will run a variety of classes within that time slot for students of various levels of experience.
We will still communicate details about students' progress (and hopefully will be able do so even more now than in the past), but you no longer need to worry about which class to sign them up for. Send them with the rest of their age group and we'll ensure they're working on appropriately challenging material.
Q: WHAT IF MY CHILD HAS ALREADY STUDIED SOME TYPE OF PROGRAMMING/CODING - WILL THIS COURSE BE TOO BASIC FOR THEM?
A: We cater for all levels of ability, and are always delighted to meet students who have already attended other courses or taught themselves some programming. Rest assured, students of any level will find plenty of challenges to keep them busy!
We do recommend that all students start in our beginners classes unless they have specifically studied Java or Processing in depth before. Please contact us if you have any queries in relation to this.
Q: HOW DO I PAY?/I’M HAVING TROUBLE WITH THE ONLINE PAYMENT SYSTEM.
A: Our online payment system accepts all of the most common forms of payment (Mastercard, VISA, American Express). If none of the online options suit feel free to contact us via our website and we’ll do our best to arrange to accept whatever form of payment suits you best. If you'd rather pay by cash we can arrange this, but please contact us ahead of time to reserve a place.
Q: WHERE DO CLASSES TAKE PLACE?
A: Our busiest location is Oatlands College, Stillorgan. This is conveniently located just off the Stillorgan dual carriageway (N11), and is also easily accessible by bus (routes including 11, 46a, 46e, 47, 63, 75, 84/a, 116, 118 and 145), and luas (~15 minutes walk from the Stillorgan green line luas stop). There is generally plenty of parking space available on-site.
We have several other venues including St Paul's College, Raheny, and offer a variety of in-school and after-school classes in the Teresian School, Donnybrook; St Conleth's Junior School, Ballsbridge; Coláiste Eoin and Coláiste Íosagáin, Booterstown; The Dominican College, Sion Hill, Blackrock; and others. Please Contact Us if you'd like your school to offer Academy of Code classes as an after school activity.
Q: IS THIS A PREPARATION FOR A CAREER AS A CODER? WHAT ABOUT KIDS WHO DON'T WANT TO GO INTO IT?
A: We don't assume everyone wants to work in IT any more than a music teacher would assume all their students will become professional musicians. Learning to code is a great skill, regardless of what path you want to follow in life. More and more, everyone needs to be at least technically literate to thrive professionally, regardless of career path. More importantly in the short term, building cool things with code is a lot of fun!
Q: WHAT IF MY CHILD DECIDES AFTER ONE OR TWO CLASSES THAT THIS ISN'T FOR THEM?
A: We understand that not every student takes to coding straight away. We'd always encourage students to stick with it for at least a few weeks, and ideally the full first term, to be sure they've given it a fair chance. That said, we do have an outrageously comprehensive satisfaction policy - we haven't and won't ever decline to give a refund for any reason. If things aren't working out after week one or two (or eleven, or thirty, or...) you can always just ask for your money back.