Computing is often regarded as a tricky subject to both teach and engage children in. However, given the right resources and encouragement, introducing simple programming from an early age, can help capture children’s interests and develop essential skills and understanding, which will aid them later on in their education journey. Moses Sung-Him Ng, a 10-year-old boy from Stanmore, London is living proof of this as a self-taught coder, who discovered an interest in coding from an early age.
When he was just eight years old, Moses decided to read Exploring the World of Mathematics, and came across a page on the BASIC programming language. It instantly captured his attention, and wanting to find out more, he started visiting local libraries to borrow books on computer programming, as well as buying a book on video game coding.
ABOVE: Moses worked with a FUZE microcomputer in his spare time, challenging himself to test out various programming languages and work with electronics
On a family trip to Hong Kong, Moses’s uncle (who works with computers) gave him an old PC, complete with Windows 7. With the computer back home, Moses could take what he’d learnt on paper and put it to practice and he began to experiment with several languages, including Quick BASIC 64 and HTML.
For Moses, computing wasn’t just an interest – it had become a passion and in July, he went along to the Stanmore College Big Bang Fair, an event designed to get young people excited about science, technology, engineering and maths. Whilst at the event, he met the team from FUZE Technologies, who were very impressed by his skills; he showed great proficiency in his coding while experimenting with their own language FUZE BASIC, an updated version of the language he had originally been inspired by.
“I like it because it’s great to connect the code to real-life”
Whilst being educated at home and studying for his 11plus papers, Moses worked with a FUZE microcomputer in his spare time, challenging himself to test out various programming languages and work with electronics. Karen, Moses’ mother, has no experience with computers or programming and was stunned by the amount Moses had taught himself, as she wasn’t able to provide any advice on the subject: “Hopefully when he moves to secondary school, he will be able to get more support from teachers, but right now, he’s doing it all on his own. He’s the expert in the family!” Now that his exams are over, he will have more time to experiment and practice with coding before moving on to study the subject at school.
“I like it because it’s great to connect the code to real-life,” says Moses, “you can combine it with other ideas and interact with it physically.” He has taught himself to program using light-dependent resistors (LDRs), which can affect patterns on the screen depending on how much light is hitting the sensor. He also developed his own programme based on mathematics research, which allows him to calculate Pi. In the near future, he hopes to experiment further with different languages, including more complex ones like Python.
ABOVE: Merrie, Moses’ younger sister is also a keen coder
When he grows up, Moses thinks that he would be interested in a career with computers, but having seen the real-world applications, he would also like to explore how he could apply his talents to his interest in music: “It would be great if he could combine the two,” says Karen.
Merrie, Moses’ younger sister is now eight years old, and after watching a TV programme called “Girls Can Code” on BBC Three, she decided that she wanted to have a go. With Moses as her inspiration and teacher, the two of them have recently been working through project cards and experimenting using Scratch. Karen goes on to say: “I never thought my girl would be interested in coding, but because the FUZE resources are suited to people of any ability, and having the additional benefit of her brother as a teacher, her interest has been boosted. I think having programming in the primary curriculum is an excellent idea, and now that Moses already has an understanding of how it all works, I can’t wait to see how this will develop during secondary school”.