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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Passionate Turkish engineer promotes coding for children | Daily Sabah – Daily Sabah

Mediha Ayşen Yüksel’s passion for teaching children how to code ended up with her launching a social venture that today helps kids unveil their potential.
A computer engineer herself, Yüksel decided to channel her knowledge after she discovered she had an excellent connection with children during her time at university.
Today, she runs Kodlama Atölyesi, a social startup that runs coding workshop programs, particularly for underprivileged kids, aged between 8 and 16.
Everything started with Yüksel’s internship at Imperial College London, where she met many computer engineers.
“At that time, I met young people who were my age, but way better computer engineer candidates than me. I found out that they were guided toward technology by their parents at a very young age because they were interested in it, and that they were familiar with software growing up. There I understood the importance of young people meeting coding at an early age,” she says.

Yet, multiple issues, including the fact that learning software is a long process and the lack of sources and appropriate education and courses made Yüksel come up with an idea that introduces youngsters to coding at an early age.
“You could learn JavaScript online from Codecademy, yet you need to know English. There are also Turkish sources but very few and not of good quality. And the issue does not end there. In the process of writing code, you would definitely encounter errors and problems, and the need for someone to direct your questions would be inevitable,” she said.
“All this gave me the idea to open a way for children and young people to get acquainted with coding at an early age.”
Yüksel started her endeavor as a voluntary instructor at an education center in Istanbul’s Üsküdar district.
“Since I hadn’t worked with children before, realizing that I had a good connection with the kids there made me believe that I can achieve this task,” she said.
She eventually launched Kodlama Atöylesi within her university, Istanbul Şehir University, in 2015. The first group that year was provided a 10-week training course.
Today, they run workshops online, face-to-face and through private classes. They teach children algorithms and programming languages, while those at advanced levels are developing their own games and launching them on the Google Play Store.
“We have students who have been attending our workshops for seven years. Although they code very well on their own, they may need a quick solution to the errors they encounter,” Yüksel says.
Yüksel says they seek to expand their range and open more workshops in the period ahead.
“An issue that we attach as much importance to as learning to code is ensuring that children can come up with different ideas and original products,” she said.
“As much as teaching children, it makes me happy to accompany them on this path.”

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