Ten-year-old Ben Hughes enjoys learning code during Microbytes on Monday sessions at Ashburton Public Library.

Ten-year-olds Ben Hughes and Asher Cavill are among a select group of kids who have taken up microbyte coding at the Ashburton Public Library.

It’s part of a one-hour-a-week coding club set up by children’s librarian Jonathan Nixon.

They use Microsoft Makecode Arcade which is a free online program which gave more options and worked better with the computer hardware at the library, Mr Nixon said.

Most of the up to 15 members a session were familiar with the block-based visual programming language and website Scratch, although some were new to coding.

Mr Nixon has been overwhelmed by interest to join the club, which was intended to be a Microbytes on Mondays session for those aged 10 to 14 years. But demand was so strong there is now a Tuesday session too. At one point Mr Nixon had a waiting list.

The club has been going now for around five weeks, running during the school term. The library has 15 chrome books for members to use during sessions which allowed them to each work on their own programming. They were continuing with sprite animation and working on game development.

There are plans to upload each of the completed programs to the library’s mobile kitronic arcade systems, which are shared with visiting class groups to get children interested in coding.


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