Introducing two new members of the Code Club team!

Code Club’s amazing team of Regional Coordinators help us to grow and to support our community across the UK. They attend events, and meet and speak with volunteers, hosts, educators, and partners on a local level.

We’re really pleased to welcome two new members to the team: Adam Williams, our new coordinator for Wales, who has been with us for a few months now, and Anna Pearson, who has just joined us as coordinator for the North East and Yorkshire. We spoke to both of them to find out a little bit more about what brought them to Code Club…

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My name is Adam Williams and I’m the Regional Coordinator for Code Club in Wales.

Having started this role in January, I’ve already learned so much about the amazing community of enthusiastic people that are involved in Code Club. I hope I can continue to help Code Club to grow in Wales by supporting the volunteers and educators we work with, and by providing more opportunities for children to enjoy learning to code.

My professional background is in sound engineering, and I spent many years working for a national music charity providing opportunities for young people to engage in music making, music technology, and the arts. I am very interested in how technology has become intertwined into our broader work, learning, social, and daily lives. This is why it’s so crucial to provide children with the opportunity to develop creative, collaborative skills in digital making.

Feel free to drop me a message at wales@codeclub.org.uk

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My name is Anna Pearson. I’m the Regional Coordinator for the North East and Yorkshire, and I’m based in Durham.

As the mother of two small children, I was looking for a new, flexible challenge which would fit into my hectic life. That’s what brought me to Code Club! I have spent the last nine years working within the STEM engagement area, so I have a good understanding of the need to promote STEM opportunities to teachers, students, and volunteers alike. I aim to inspire, educate, and highlight the importance of STEM skills.

The North is a real hub for digital technology, and there is a lot of scope to increase Code Club UK’s presence. This is really inspiring, and I can’t wait to get involved. I am excited to meet and build relationships with the existing support network, and utilise their knowledge and experience to explore new partnerships.

If you want to know more or you’d like to introduce yourself, do get in touch with me at yhne@codeclub.org.uk.

Your feedback: host survey 2016

At the end of last year we sent out a survey to Code Club hosts to ask them about their experiences running Code Club at their venues. We had some great feedback, and now that we’ve crunched the numbers, we wanted to share our findings!

Firstly, our thanks to more than 300 Code Club hosts who filled in the survey. Feedback from our community is essential to help us measure our impact, and to make sure that we are working in a way that is helpful and beneficial for everyone running Code Clubs in the UK.

The results…

We were really pleased to see excellent feedback about our volunteers. On average, 80 percent of hosts said that their volunteers were excellent, in terms of knowledge, commitment, friendliness and reliability.

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Many, many respondents provided awesome quotes about Code Club. We really loved this one: “The children love Code Club – one child said she wanted the club to run “forever” … a mum said her son had “spoken about nothing else all week”. It’s great to be able to offer something so well-received.”

Changes based on your feedback

The majority of the suggestions and feedback gathered from hosts related to the process for contacting volunteers through our site. The good news is that we are already planning work for later this year to make the process of matching a volunteer with a Code Club easier. We’re also brainstorming ways to keep our volunteer data as up to date as possible, and to help encourage replies from volunteers.

We asked questions about the resources that hosts already use, and asked what extra resources might be helpful. As a result of your comments, we plan to:

  • send emails out to let hosts & volunteers know when we have new projects available for the children to use
  • introduce some new resources for hosts to download, including a certificate that can be given to volunteers
  • create some equipment guides so hosts know what they need to run a Code Club

More than half the hosts also mentioned that they would like more training on coding. The great news is that we have just launched new coding courses on FutureLearn.

98.7% ♥️ Code Club!

Last, but by no means least, we were really happy that nearly 99 percent of respondents said they would recommend running a Code Club to others!

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Thinking of hosting a Code Club in your venue? Get started now! www.codeclub.org.uk/start-a-club/venues

Evaluating Code Club’s impact

Earlier this month, we celebrated Code Club’s fifth birthday. Over that time we have grown from 25 clubs to a network of over 5,000 active clubs in the UK and many thousands more across the world. That’s only been possible thanks to the fantastic work of our community of volunteers and educators, and the enthusiasm of parents and young people. Thank you.

We know from the many messages and feedback we get that kids, teachers, volunteers, and parents all get lots out of their involvement with Code Club. You also help us make Code Club better. We work hard to listen to your feedback and that leads directly to improvements in the way that we support Code Club through our projects, training, and much more.

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We are also committed to formally evaluating what we do. That’s why, between June 2015 and September 2016, we worked with the National Foundation for Educational Research (NfER) on a randomised control trial that explored the benefit that Code Club has on children that participate. As far as we know, this is one of the only randomised control trials of an after school programme focused on computing. We are very grateful to NfER for conducting the research and to Nesta and the Cabinet Office who provided funding to allow this to happen. We’re also extremely grateful to all of the teachers and young people who helped us by participating in the trial.

The trial worked with 21 schools that set up Code Club as part of the trial. Children who said they wanted to attend the Code Club were randomly assigned to either attend for the year of the trial, or to attend in the following year. That way everyone got to benefit from Code Club, but the researchers were able to measure what impact attending a Code Club had compared with a control group.

The trial showed that Code Club had a significant and positive impact on children’s programming ability in all of the programming languages we use: Scratch, HTML/CSS, and Python. Teachers said that Code Club improved children’s skills and confidence in programming, as well as general ICT skills and problem solving, and many teachers also reported the benefit of being able to use the confidence and skills of Code Club children to support other pupils in lesson time. The research also highlighted how easy it was to set up and run a Code Club, with lots of positive feedback for the resources and projects that we provide.

The trial has also given us lots of good feedback to work on. What do we mean by computational thinking and how can we support volunteers and teachers to teach those concepts in an engaging way? How do we get better at managing the transition from visual to text based programming languages? How can we most effectively identify and spread practice between Code Clubs?  

Over the coming months we’ll be reviewing the findings of the research in depth and using them as a springboard for further improving the support that we give to teachers and volunteers that deliver Code Clubs in the UK and around the world.

You can download the full evaluation report from the Raspberry Pi Foundation Research and Insights page.