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Coder Academy

Book cover: Coder Academy

Welcome to Coder Academy, where you will learn all about what it takes to create games and other software. This book has been created for children aged 7 to 10 years old, and it helps you to develop skills in:

  • Understanding computer languages, with a focus on Scratch;
  • Art and animation, including designing your own character using the stickers provided;
  • Computer music, including composing your own tune using a pattern grid and designing your own digital instrument;
  • Building your own web page, using HTML, including writing your own page content; and
  • Decorating your web page with colours and borders.

The book includes a mixture of activities that you can carry out on the page as well as activities you can carry out on screen. You can take the book with you wherever you go to build your coding skills, and prepare for your time using the computer. The book also comes with a reversible poster and game board, 3D model robots, stickers, and game cards (see below).

Most of the coding activities are based on Scratch 2.0, a free programming language that is popular with children. It has 18 million users worldwide and celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2017.

Buy the book


Preview the extras that come with the book

Coder Academy comes with a poster, Robot Programming Challenge game (the maze is printed on the reverse of the poster), two 3D model robots, a Coding Pairs card game, and stickers to use to design sprites and track your progress through the book's activities.

Photo of the Coder Academy board game, robots, poster, sticker sheet, and Coding Pairs cards


Download the Coder Academy PDF sampler

Take a look at Coder Academy with this free PDF sampler. It includes the chapter on music, showing you how you can use Scratch to compose music and design your own instrument. It also includes the table of contents and introductory pages, so you can get an overview of the book.

One of the spreads from the free sample chapter


Download the Coder Academy Sprite Pack

Animated GIF showing the sprite animation frames

Coder Academy includes beautiful illustrations by Rosan Magar, and we thought some of them would make great sprites for you to use in your Scratch games. Download the sprite pack here. You can also find this free sprite pack on the Scratch website.


Get the Coder Academy desktop wallpaper

Coding careers poster

Decorate your desktop with the Coder Academy wallpaper, based on the poster that comes with the print edition of the book. It shows careers that use coding, including technology; art, films and music; engineering; and science. The wallpaper is available in three sizes: 1280 x 800, 1366 x 768, and 1920 x 1080.

How you set it up varies depending on your computer and operating system. If you're using Windows:

  • Click the link that's the best match for your desktop to open the image in your browser.
  • Right-click the image and use the menu that opens to save the image to your desktop.
  • Go to your desktop, and then right click the file you downloaded and use the menu to set it as your desktop background.
  • In your browser, click the back button to get back here again!

Download the code from the book

The Scratch code is on the Scratch website in the Coder Academy studio here. You can choose an example and then click See Inside to see the code. You can change the code to make your own remix of the program. Scratch 2.0 also now works on the Raspberry Pi 3, so you can make the Coder Academy programs on the Raspberry Pi .

You can download the HTML template to make your own web page too. Click this link to view the template in your browser.

To download the template to your computer:

  • Right-click this link to open the menu.
  • In Chrome, choose the option that says Save Link As.
  • In Internet Explorer choose the option that says Save Target As.
  • In other browsers, choose the option to save the file to your computer.
  • Save it to your Desktop or Documents folder.
If you want to make a website on the Raspberry Pi, use the Leafpad Text Editor. You'll find it in the Accessories section of the Programs Menu.

Publishing your web page online

The book shows you how to create your own web page, but doesn't show you how to publish it online. Get an adult's help with this. In brief, these are the steps they need to follow:

  1. Check that your website content does not include any personal information.
  2. Find a hosting company. The hosting company stores your website on its server (or computer) and makes it available to everyone over the Internet. Ask a friend for recommendations if you know friends with websites. The hosting company will rent you space to store your website, and also give you a chance to buy a domain name, which is the website address. My domain name is www.sean.co.uk. You will need to renew your domain name periodically, or someone else can buy it and use it.
  3. The hosting company can provide instructions for uploading your website to their server. They will give you a username and a password and you will usually use FTP software or Windows Explorer to upload your content. (You can just type the FTP address your hosting company gives you into the path bar at the top of a Windows Explorer window, and then drag and drop your files as if you were copying between folders on your computer - see picture below).

    Screenshot showing FTP in the path bar of Windows Explorer

    Using Windows Explorer for FTP

  4. It might take some time for your domain name to become available at first. Your hosting company's tech support should be able to help with any problems if you can't get it working.

Bonus Scratch tips and tutorials

Credits

© Sean McManus. All rights reserved.

Visit www.sean.co.uk for free chapters from Sean's coding books (including Mission Python, Scratch Programming in Easy Steps and Coder Academy) and more!

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