Code Club festive competition: we have a winner!

In October, we launched our first-ever competition exclusively for active Code Clubs. In keeping with the season, the challenge was to code a festive message using one of two Code Club projects as a starting point.

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Incredible entries

We were super excited when the submissions started rolling in, and all in all we received more than 500 from clubs all across the UK.

After the competition closed, the Code Club judges had a wonderful time looking at all your entries, which were creative, funny, and well thought-out.

The winners

It was tough choosing a winner from among all the fantastic festive messages we received, but after much deliberation, we are pleased to announce that the winner is Jake, aged 9, from Henry Cavendish Primary School!

Congratulations to Jake and the whole Henry Cavendish Primary School Code Club! The judges loved the use of sprites, animation, and colour in Jake’s entry. Jake says:

I’m very happy to have won — Code Club is my favourite part of the week.

Club leader Phil Brayshaw adds:

We’d like to say how proud we are of how far Jake and the other kids have progressed in just a few months. They’re so creative and resourceful, and always helpful to each other.

The whole club will receive prizes, and we will send out the winning entry as the official Code Club end-of-year festive message.

Highly Commended

It really was too hard to choose just one entry, so we’d like to recognise three other entries with a mention in the Highly Commended category:

 

 

  • Charlotte, aged 8, from Weetwood Primary School Code Club, whose piano-playing penguin got us in a festive mood

 

Coming soon

If your club members weren’t able to take part this time, don’t worry: we’ll have more competitions, available exclusively for active clubs, coming up soon! If you need help with getting your club activated so you can take part next time, drop us a line at support@codeclub.org.uk.

Free online course: prepare to run a Code Club

On 20 November, Code Club will be launching a brand-new free online course called Prepare to Run a Code Club on FutureLearn. Join it, and in just a few hours you will learn the skills and gain the confidence you need to start up a Code Club.

Sarah Sheerman-Chase, Participation Manager for Code Club UK, tells you more.

Over the last year, the team at the Raspberry Pi Foundation has created three free courses on the FutureLearn platform, and I am very excited that Prepare to Run a Code Club is the fourth!

FutureLearn

FutureLearn is a digital education platform which offers a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. It uses interactive formats and encourages learners to connect with each other through comments and discussions.

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Therefore, it made perfect sense to me to offer Prepare to Run a Code Club as a free course on their site, giving anyone who wants to start a club practical, hands-on advice on how to do it.

Prepare to Run a Code Club

The course is spread over three weeks, and you can join it at any point. Each weekly module takes approximately an hour to complete.

Week 1 kicks off with advice on how to prepare to start a Code Club, for example which hardware and software are needed. Week 2 focusses on how to deliver Code Club sessions, with practical tips on helping young people learn and an easy taster coding project to try out. In the final week, the course looks at interesting ideas to enrich and extend club sessions.

Each week features suggestions and insights from experienced volunteers and teachers, as well as articles about everything necessary for setting up and running a Code Club.

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The course is not a requirement for becoming a Code Club volunteer, but I hope that lots of volunteers will take advantage of the tips and information offered in it, and that they will also use this opportunity to connect with other volunteers through discussions on the site.

If they wish, learners can choose to purchase a certificate at the end of the course, but this is completely optional and not necessary for volunteering with Code Club.

As part of the course launch, we’re waving a fond farewell to the online training that was previously part of signing up to volunteer, so now it’s even easier and quicker for you to get registered!

Get started

The first course run starts on 20 November — sign up now! Don’t worry if you can’t join this time, as the course will be running throughout the year.

Do you have questions? Then check out our training FAQs.

Time to get coding in Belfast

Back in August, the Code Club team went to visit a Code Club in Belfast run by some fabulous volunteers from PwC as part of their Hive Hackers project, which engages with 6- to 11-year-olds and teachers at primary schools across the region to teach coding and technology. PwC was also collaborating with the Time to Code programme run by Business in the Community Northern Ireland to set up the sessions.

Ciara Mulgrew, Programme Executive at Business in the Community, came along to the session too. She said: “In today’s digital age, IT literacy is so important. Young people are growing up surrounded by technology, but many still lack the basic IT skills that future jobs will demand.”

Hive Hackers

At this Code Club, the children had been using Code Club Scratch projects to build up their programming skills, and the volunteers had begun each of their sessions with a presentation explaining the learning objectives of the project the club members were going to work on.

“The increase in knowledge that the children displayed was testament to the amount they had learned over the duration of the course. They all gave 100% in every session and weren’t afraid to dive into the deep end.”
— Mark, volunteer from PwC

Our visit took place during the club’s final session, and the volunteers had arranged some special activities. To celebrate the projects that they had created, the children had the opportunity to present and explain their animations on-screen.

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The volunteers had created something special of their own: they finished the session with a quiz, asking questions based on computational thinking concepts and recording the young people’s answers on a live scoreboard. Children viewed the questions on-screen and voted for the correct answer. The scoreboard generated lots of excitement!

“It was great to see that the kids were getting loads of correct answers, reflective of how much they had learned.”
— Niall, volunteer from PwC

We’re thankful for the support of Business in the Community Northern Ireland’s Time to Code programme, whose team connected us with these committed volunteers to get more kids coding.

Get involved

If you’d like to get involved in running Code Club sessions in your local community, you can find out more about volunteering here.