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.

Tinkering and sharing at Sheldon School Code Club

Earlier this year, we announced that we are growing Code Club by extending its age range to include 12- and 13-year-olds. We caught up with one of the secondary schools who are running a club and spoke to Computing and IT teacher Tom Shaw at Sheldon School in Chippenham to find out more about his Code Club for Year 7 and 8 students.

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Sheldon School, Chippenham

What inspired you to get involved with running a Code Club?

The club is run after school, and although I assist, I wanted resources which allowed the students to get stuck in with a high degree of independence. I was really looking for accessible resources to get students experimenting and dipping into code-based projects with minimal hassle.

Tell us as a bit more about your Code Club.

The club runs on a Tuesday after school, and I have approximately 20 to 25 regular attendees who are mostly in KS3 Year 7 or 8. My sixth-form computer science students come and help whenever possible.

Once set up, Code Club is very simple to deliver. I also haven’t had to push the club too much — I just put it on our school clubs list and students came and had a go. Word quickly spread, and now the club is basically full!

The Python projects are very popular — I have used those in the classroom as well as in the club. Some students have also used the projects at home.

In addition to coding, we do mix it up with a little Minetest for pure fun, and with some team competitions.

Can you explain a bit about why running an extra-curricular coding club is important for your students?

One of the more ethereal aspects of promoting a subject in school is trying to generate a ‘culture’. We have lots of enthusiastic users of computers who love to game and so forth. Capturing that enthusiasm and turning it into something productive without losing the element of fun — that is a trickier thing to do. The Code Club structure and resources are enormously useful in helping a coding culture develop, and I really enjoy the non-formal tinkering and sharing that goes on.

Are you interested in starting a Code Club at your school? Head to the Code Club website to learn more.