The Doctor and the Daleks teach kids to code

BBC launch The Doctor and the Dalek game linked to computing curriculum

Doctor Who and the Daleks have joined the nationwide mission to get kids coding, through the launch of a CBBC game.

Voiced by Doctor Who actor Peter Capaldi, the aim of the game – titled The Doctor and the Dalek – is to take control of the Dalek and program it to power up its ability to perform tasks, such as flying. 

The online game is part of the BBC’s Make it Digital initiative which aims to inspire young people to take up careers in technology.

The game features a range of puzzles which have been designed to link to the computing curriculum – including Key Stage 2 and 3 points, such as combining instructions to accomplish a given goal, using variables to alter behaviour, repetition and loops, and logical reasoning.

BBC director of television Danny Cohen said the game is an example of how a popular BBC show can give fans something extra, while introducing wider audiences to increasingly important skills, such as coding and programming.

The Doctor and the Dalek has been commissioned by BBC Learning, and produced by BBC Wales and Somethin’ Else, in association with BBC Future Media.

Head of BBC Learning Sinéad Rocks said the BBC is excited about the launch of the game as not only is it entertaining for kids to play, but it’s also a great introduction to some key principles of computer programming. 

“Every puzzle has a strong link to the Key Stage 2 or 3 computing curriculum, so we think it’s going to be a really valuable tool for students, parents and teachers,” she said.

Director of software company Micro Focus Derek Britton said getting so many young children interested in coding through this kind of initiative is a fantastic sign for the future of the discipline.

“Coding has never been more important and this is demonstrated time and time again by industry demand, and the increasing emphasis from institutions such as the BBC and the UK government.

“Making the subject as engaging as possible for youngsters will be vital in giving them as many opportunities as possible to hone their skills and help spread awareness about coding and IT skills in general,” he said.

Young people enthusiastic about career in Steam industries

Research undertaken by software firm Autodesk recently revealed 52% of UK school children aged between 11 and 18 would like a career in the science, technology, engineering, art and maths (Steam) sectors. Only 2% said they would like to be prime minister, while 13% said they wanted to be a celebrity.

One third (33%) said they don’t believe their school knows enough about new technology, but the top five school subjects came out as science, art, maths, design and technology, and computing.

Vice-president and head of Autodesk in the UK Pete Baxter said while there is a growing skills gap in the UK, the research shows a real enthusiasm for careers in the Steam industries.

“As a country we should be doing everything we can to nurture this enthusiasm in our classrooms so we can develop the skilled workforce we need to succeed in the future," he said.

"We believe younger students can be inspired to further their Steam education through regular, hands-on access to highly visual and creative tools and technologies. Meanwhile, older students need the opportunity to master professional tools and techniques to ensure they hit the ground running when they begin their Steam careers.”

Read more on IT technical skills