Game on for coding

Code Kingdoms launches interactive game to teach coding in real JavaScript to 6-13-year-olds

London-based startup Code Kingdoms, which teaches computer science to children by allowing them to build and share game worlds with their friends, launches today for kids aged 6-13-years-old.

Founded by Entrepreneur First alumni Ross Targett and Hugh Collins, Code Kingdoms has partnered with the BBC on the MakeItDigital campaign, helping to put a coding device in the hands of 1 million Year 7 students. They have partnered with Teach First to train their cohort of primary teachers in using Code Kingdoms to teach the Computing National Curriculum, and also have secured partnerships with Code Club, Hour of Code and other key players in the digital education space. The team has also raised £280,000 in funding.

Code Kingdoms allows children to work alone or collaborate with friends and classmates to build game levels, code new characters or simply play the built-in worlds while aiming to defeat evil Glitches, the characters that seek to put bugs into code.

Free to use in schools and running on any operating system or device, the game uses real JavaScript and is aligned to the UK’s coding curriculum, which was introduced in September 2014. The game has been designed to offer students an opportunity to build their coding skills outside of a formal classroom environment.

Co-founder Hugh Collins, 22, used to build his own computer games as a child because his parents refused to buy them, and he later worked as a developer for ARM Holdings. CEO Ross Targett, 23, managed to sell his first tech startup while studying for his final year university exams and worked for Intel before meeting Collins through Entrepreneur First. The pair also spent four years volunteering in their spare time, teaching kids to code in schools, giving them the opportunity to see what was missing: 

“We wanted to build something that would teach children a real programming language that they can use again elsewhere, while giving them something that they genuinely love to play, and keep coming back to play again and again”, said Code Kingdoms cofounder Ross Targett. 

“We have spent a lot of time over the last year working with parents, teachers and most importantly children, to develop Code Kingdoms. We already have 25,000 beta users, and we’ve been able to use their valuable feedback, as well as the input from the three thousand kids and teachers we have worked with directly over the last 12 months. Kids have even come into our office where they helped write small parts of the game’s source code,” said Targett.

In fact, the founders have designed the full version of Code Kingdoms to be an evolving platform which will continue to draw on user feedback. This will be an important feature in order to stay relevant to its core audience of 6-13-years-old and will also offer opportunities to gain credits and prizes. 

Peter Kemp, author of the secondary computing curriculum, commented: “Code Kingdoms is a wonderful tool for teaching children how to program. The unique ability to switch between graphical and textual programming environments makes Code Kingdoms a great solution for teaching the new national curriculum.


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