Birmingham-based entrepreneurs Ben and Jodie Cook are set to inspire the UK’s children to take up coding after securing a deal to put a series of the Clever Tykes books into every primary school in the UK. Code-it Cody is one of three stories in the series which inspires enterprising behaviour in children aged 6-9. This is every bit more exciting as Jodie Cook is one of Silicon Canal’s board members!
We caught up with Jodie to discuss Clever Tykes and why coding was seen as such an important skill to promote in the series.
“Coding is a crucial skill in today’s society and some schools are still struggling to find ways of integrating it into an already-packed curriculum. We realised that if we could inspire children to code through the stories, they might ask their parents about it – who may take extra steps to get them started.”
Tell us more about the story and Cody, how do you inspire kids to code?
“The story follows Cody, who is interested in computers and is good at solving problems. We wanted to show how you need to work on your skills to become really good, so Cody is encouraged to join computer club at school. He’s unsure at first but through the mentorship of Mr Chip, he learns how to code a computer game.”
How did you go about getting the stories into all the schools in the UK?
“We knew that we needed to find support from a company that had the means to put the books and online resources into that many schools so we’d been working on the project for several years in total. In the end, Lloyds Banking Group showed faith in us and Clever Tykes ties in brilliantly with their overall community projects and goals.”
What do you hope to achieve with the books?
“The goal of Clever Tykes is to promote enterprising behaviour in children, to break the cycle of generational unemployment. By providing entrepreneurial role models, we’re confident we can increase the number of exciting businesses being started in the UK. We also wanted to inspire children to adopt the most important skills, of which coding is definitely one! We’ve already had some amazing feedback from parents whose kids have read Cody and have since taken them to a coding club or bought them a Raspberry Pi.
“I also like to think it’s a major achievement for Birmingham. There are some amazing businesses in Birmingham, including those in Silicon Canal, and we hope that this is a way of not only showcasing what us Brummies are capable of, but actually influencing the rest of the country.”
When can schools expect to receive a copy of Code-it Cody?
“All the primary schools will receive their set of Clever Tykes books in January! They’ll also be receiving email invitations to explore the digital resources which help teachers get the most from the stories. We hope that schools themselves are inspired to offer coding clubs or after school clubs and help nurture children who take an interest.”