GopherCoders is a creation of Kulawe Limited. Kulawe is a small IT consultancy, based in Buckinghamshire, England.
Kulawe’s day-to-day business is introducing Agile project management approaches, using a methodology called Scrum. We try and help companies make better software by changing the processes they use to make software.
GopherCoders is the result of two events.
The first is the UK Governments Department for Education and Skills decision in September 2013 to radically change the way Computing (prevously ICT - Information and Communication Technology) was taught in schools. The new curriculum took effect from September 2014. The changes can be summed up in one simple sentence.
All children, from the age of four onwards, now have to learn to code using a computer programming language.
The second event was a conversation with Ben Price - who drew the GopherCoders logo. Ben is an outstanding primary school teacher. We had looked the new computing material available to schools and quickly realised that without a background in programming that teachers were likely to struggle to teach the new curriculum. After talking to Ben we realised that the pupils and the schools would need help.
Out of these two events GopherCoders was born. Initially as a website with aim of helping pupils to learn at home to program though our on-line lessons and then later with material for teachers to help them with the lessons if they wanted to use the material in the classroom. From that we’ve moved on to holding classes and coding clubs within schools.
A long time ago(!) we taught ourselves to program, then years later a teacher taught us some more. The combination of our curiosity and an inspiring teacher lead us to careers in IT.
Over this time computers have become vastly more powerful and common place so the need for programmers has increased. But, there are less pupils interested in the subject both at school and university level.
As an industry we need more young people to be interested in the subject at an early age. We could all program by the age of eleven, so why can’t the pupils or today do that too? We set out the answer this question.
Within Kulawe we have used Go to create a number of programs to solve the business problems we have. We like coding in Go a lot. It is very easy to use, allows us to solve problems in interesting ways, and has made us more productive. Wherever possible we try and use Go in our and or clients projects.
There as also been a debate within the Go community about using Go as a teaching language. Some people have used Go to teach specific programming concepts, but this has mostly been at the university level. There are very few examples of people teaching Go to others as a first programming language. And, as far as we know, there are no examples of teaching children to program with Go.
Because we used Go on a daily basis, Go looked to us like an ideal teaching language. So we thought we would find some children and try to prove this.
Go, of course, has turned out to be a specularly good language to teach children to program!