The Lab Singapore

The Lab Singapore Parent Portal

The Lab Singapore is proud to present The Lab Parent Portal designed for busy parents in a digital age. Parents are now able to track your child’s learning progression with us real-time. Available to students ages 10-16 in our The Lab program.

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions – Robotics and Programming competitions in Singapore

1. What are the well-known competitions for Robotics and Programming?

For Robotics focused competitions, the World Robot Olympiad (WRO) is generally considered the most popular, while for Programming focused competitions, Singapore has the National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI).

2. What is the difference between these two competitions?

WRO involves designing, building and programming a competition robot. NOI focuses mainly on programming and problem-solving skills.

Image result for wro Image result for national olympiad in informatics
What is it? The World Robot Olympiad is a global robotics competition for young people. The World Robot Olympiad competition uses Lego Mindstorm Robots manufactured by LEGO Education. The Singapore National Olympiad in Informatics (NOI) is modelled after the International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI), the ultimate international competition in computing.
What are the categories in the competition. The tournament comprises of four categories:

(1) Primary for ages 9 – 12;

(2) Secondary for ages 13 – 15;

(3) Tertiary for ages 15 – 19;

(4) Open for all categories

The tournament is broken up into four categories:

(1) Secondary;

(2) Junior College

What is the programming language used in the competition? Lego Mindstorms C++, Java, Python
When is the competition held? September Annually March Annually
How long is the competition? Typically, across 5 days 1 day
Is it an individual or team competition? Team of 3-4 Individual

3. How long does it take for a student to train for the above competitions?

Typically, a student is required to be exposed to robotics and/or programming for 1 – 2 years. It would then take approximately 50 hours of training focused purely on the competition. Hence, a high level of commitment from the student is paramount.

4. What is my child learning in The Lab Singapore that will assist in the above competitions?

In the Lab Junior program, students are required to build and program different robots each week using Lego Mindstorms. Lego Mindstorms is the programming language used in WRO. At the end of each term, students are required to complete project work which requires all three aspects, i.e. design, build and program, similar to WRO.

In the Lab program, students start with Google Blockly, enabling them to grasp the concepts of programming and progress on to Python in the advanced stages of the curriculum. Python is one of the programming languages used in the NOI.

5. Is attending The Lab Singapore classes sufficient to participate in the competition?

Unfortunately, no. The competitions are thematic and they vary year on year. Nonetheless, the concepts learnt in The Lab Singapore will assist students in understanding and applying core skills and concepts during the competitions.

As such, we have specially engaged instructors who have experienced in training students for competitions to train our students.

6. What is the suggested learning journey if my child is interested in taking part competitions?

We suggest your child to have at least 6 months to 1 year of exposure in robotics and/or programming before taking part in any competitions. We highly encourage students to take part in their first competition as part of their learning journey and to participate in our internal The Lab monthly competitions. This will allow them to be better prepared when they take part in serious competitions the following year.

A Guide to DSA (Direct School Admission)

As all secondary schools are increasing the proportion of students’ intake though the DSA, more and more parents are considering that route for their child.

Here is a guide to:

What is DSA and how it works?

Direct School Admission for secondary schools (DSA-Sec) allows students to apply to some schools before taking the PSLE. Students apply based on their talent in sports, CCAs and specific academic areas.

How do schools select students for the DSA?

The selection process varies from school to school, and across DSA categories. For instance, they may have to submit a portfolio of their achievements, result slips, CCA records and a personal statement or character reference. The student may also have to go through interviews, camps, trials or tests for that particular area of talent.

Who can apply?

Primary 6 students can apply for DSA-Sec based on a wide-range of talents, including:

  • Sports and games
  • Visual, literary and performing arts
  • Debate and public speaking
  • Science, mathematics and engineering
  • Languages and humanities
  • Uniformed groups
  • Leadership (e.g. prefects)

Which DSA schools are Technology-focused talent area?

As technology related interests are gaining in popularity, so are schools in adopting students who are talented in that particular area. Schools who adopt the DSA program with a focus in technology related talent areas typically require students to have a portfolio and/or go through an interview process to present themselves and their achievements.

Schools that adopted the DSA program with a focus in technology related talent areas:

Schools

Talent Area

Admiralty Secondary School Robotics and Computing
Anderson Secondary School Robotics
Anglo-Chinese School (Independent) Robotics (Boys)
Bukit View Secondary School Coding and Computational Thinking Skills
Changkat Changi Secondary School STEM
Chua Chu Kang Secondary School Robotics and Automation
Clementi Town Secondary School Coding
Commonwealth Secondary School Robotics
Dunman High School Infocomm and Robotics
Fuchun Secondary School Robotics
Gan Eng Seng STEM
Hai Sing Catholic School Robotics
Hillgrove Secondary School STEM
Jurongville Secondary School STEM
Kent Ridge Secondary School Computational Thinking
Loyang View Secondary School STEM
Manjusri Secondary School Science and Technology
Maris Stella High School Robotics
NUS High School Science, Mathematics
Pei Hwa Secondary School Robotics
Regent Secondary School Robotics
River Valley High Coding
School of Science and Technology Computing, Electronics
Singapore Chinese Girls’ School Robotics
Tampines Secondary School STEM
West Spring Secondary School Infocommunications
Woodlands Ring Secondary School Robotics
Yio Chu Kang Secondary School Coding
Yishun Town Secondary School Robotics
Zhonghua Secondary School Computer Programming

 

 

 

The Lab Singapore Expands To Central West

We are thrilled to announce today that The Lab Singapore is expanding to Singapore’s Central West region.

Through an exciting partnership with Repton Schoolhouse, our The Lab Infant and The Lab Junior programmes will find their new premises in the Central West starting today.

“The Lab Singapore is focused on high quality member journey and experience,” said Adelene Fong, Managing Director of The Lab Singapore. “With our huge success in Katong, positive feedback and strong validation from existing parents and students, we are expanding to bring about more awareness on the importance of programming/coding in Singapore.”

Free coding bootcamp trial classes will still be held at The Lab Singapore @ Katong V.

The Repton Schoolhouse is located at 321, Alexandra Central Road #03-11 Alexandra Central, 159971.

 

About Repton Schoolhouse

Repton Schoolhouse offers a unique curriculum combining the best of the British and Singaporean education systems and traditions. The combination of these and the finest educational practitioners, enable each child to be guided and encouraged to grow and develop their potential within a nurturing and supportive environment.

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5 Top Questions Parents Ask About Coding For Their Kids

Here are the 5 Top Questions Parents Ask about Coding for their kids:

1. Why should my child learn Coding even though he/ she does not wish to work in the IT industry in the future?

Learning to code is not able being software engineers or programmers, it is about developing computational thinking skills. Computational thinking is how software engineers solve problems. It combines mathematics, logic and algorithms, and teaches you a new way to think about the world.

Computational thinking teaches you how to tackle large problems by breaking them down into a sequence of smaller, more manageable problems. It allows you to tackle complex problems in efficient ways that operate at huge scale. It involves creating models of the real world with a suitable level of abstraction, and focus on the most pertinent aspects. It helps you go from specific solutions to general ones.

2. Isn’t programming too complex for kids? I have heard of C, Java – how can young kids learn those?

Traditionally programming required knowledge of syntax, that is, the use of sequences of text including words, numbers, and punctuation. You are right, this is a complexity that children cannot successfully navigate.

But visual-based programming, such as Blockly, that uses blocks like pre-created code, and ensures kids can focus on the fundamental programming logic, rather than syntax.

Children can easily drag and drop to write a program (that is, build a game, a story) that works. Kids don’t get frustrated with a program not working because of a missing semi colon!

3. When should I start my child to learn how to code?

It’s common knowledge that children under the age of 7 acquire foreign languages extremely rapidly. So why not the computer vernacular?  Researchers have found that the best age range to begin teaching children a second language is between 2 and

Childhood and early adolescence are the critical age ranges for children to learn anything, including programming, because their brains are still developing and learning how to learn.

4. I don’t know anything about computers or programming. How do I know how he./ she is progressing?

Every member of The Lab is meticulously tracked by our system. From the time taken to finish a challenge, to number of attempts taken, all these are captured and recorded in our cloud database. Parents can log in into our system to see your child’s learning progression. Our curriculum is well-documented and reviewed by Dr. Oka Kurniawan, a professor in SUTD.

5. There are so many programming languages. Which one should my child learn?

The easiest coding language to learn for the first time learners is Python. Python is open source and free to use, even for commercial applications. Thanks to its flexibility, Python is one of the most widely used high-level programming languages today.

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Coding In The Classroom: Is MOE Ready For It?

In 2017, Singapore announced a $3 million plan, dubbed the Digital Maker Programme, that aims to distribute 100,000 micro:bits to schoolgoing children and adults over the next two years to teach basic coding.

Coding is an enrichment programme in schools, like music and ballet. Computing is now offered as an O-level subject at Secondary 3, starting in 19 schools. If digital literacy could be as important as reading and writing, should coding be part of the school curriculum in Singapore?

There are practical difficulties to such an approach includes a lack of qualified teachers. The bottom line? If coding is the language of the future, the answer to whether it should be taught in all schools is obvious. As with all things, the devil is in the details. When will MOE be ready for it?

Australia: In 2017, Australian schools introduced the new Digital Technologies curriculum. Every child from the first year of school to Year 10 will be working on the curriculum.

Japan: Starting with the primary schools in 2020, computer programming will be made a compulsory subject in Japanese primary schools. It will be followed by the implementation in middle schools in 2021 and high schools in 2022.

UK: Since 2014, UK is the first country in the G20 to ensure that every child is schooled in coding from Primary until G.C.S.E.

China: Many Chinese children are now getting exposed to coding by the time they reach preschool, as private coding classes for preschoolers open up. Normally, youths of this age are working on mastering math and Chinese, but they are soon possess new skills in technology to go alongside these others.

US: Though Obama’s initiative of Hour of Code, 28 million Americans has been exposed to Coding. One quarter of K-12 schools have integrated Computer Science into their curriculum.

References:

  1. https:// fossbytes.com/ japan-computer-programming-compulsory-subject-schools/
  2. https:// bigthink.com/ ideafeed/ china-is-already-teaching-coding-to-the-next-generation
  3. https:// pursuit.unimelb.edu.au/ articles/ coding-in-the-classroom
  4. https:// edtechnology.co.uk/ Article/ digital-learning-day-coding-in-schools
  5. https:// www.straitstimes.com/ opinion/ add-coding-to-basic-skills-taught-in-schools