Yesterday I helped out at my first Code Club, so it was like my first day at school. I had prepared (a bit) by going through some of the first few Scratch and Python projects on the Code Club site and doing them myself. Having not really done loads with either language I think it helped as I fell into some of the same pitfalls that the kids did (and some they didn’t!). It helped when they had questions or call me over to help as their code didn’t run and they couldn’t work out why. I was definitely more comfortable helping with the Python than Scratch, probably due to it being closer to what I do every day.
I am amazed by how quickly they picked things up and got through the projects, even adding their own touches to the designs as they went, with no fear or apprehension. It is great to see how enthusiastic they are to dive in and get things working. They even pick up the developer trait and not saving often enough when they are in full flow. 🙂
A big thanks to all the other volunteers for spreading a calm demeanour that helped the club run smoothly. Can’t wait for next week.
Very recently I got asked to help in running a Code Club at a local primary school, it is something i have been interested in for a while now. My daughters have both tried coding with scratch at home on weekends and loved it. Especially the Frozen and Star Wars projects on code.org. I tried numerous times to get my eldest’s school interested in running a club, even though my eldest isn’t quite at the right age yet. The projects and resources are targeted at 9-11 year olds. However my 7 year old has done some logic puzzles and coding in her IT lessons on both desktops and iPads. (She got me to download the app so she could teach the 3 year old how to code!)
Anyway i digress, the school were unresponsive and so I accepted an offer to help at another school nearby who have an existing club set up. There are around 4 or 5 volunteers and a class size of 20. The clubs run once a week during term time after school, are free, use school equipment and resources provided through the Code Club website. (Resources)
The projects start by using Scratch and get more advanced, moving into HTML/CSS and then finally Python.
The fact that the clubs run directly after school obviously creates a problem for those volunteers with jobs, luckily for me the company I work for slicedbread are lovely enough to allow me to have a break in the day of the week the club runs. I am honestly very excited about seeing what they produce and the ideas they come up with. Speaking to the other volunteers it is a thoroughly rewarding experience, mentoring the next generation of coders and digital creatives.
If this had existed when I was at primary school I am sure I would have jumped at the chance, I learnt to code when I was 18 (and already on a computing course at university!). Most children are so comfortable with digital technology now, it is in everything they touch and do pretty much. To give them the chance to understand what goes into that and how it works is amazing, it may even inspire them to go and create new apps or technologies themselves.
I hope to keep posting throughout the school year about the club and the activities we undertake. Also my efforts to learn Python.