Helping others start a Code Club

After becoming a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator at Picademy, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s free face-to-face teacher training initiative, Kyle Wilke was inspired to start a Code Club to give students at his school and teachers in California more access to coding and making.

After attending Picademy, I was inspired to start a Code Club of my own in the computer lab at the school where I teach. The first week of the club, I introduced my students to Scratch, and we looked at project examples from across the community before starting to work through the Code Club projects. For the first two years I ran the club alone, and this year I reached out to our Parent-Teacher Association and was able to get multiple volunteers attending each session. Having volunteers has been a game changer for our club, and it’s great seeing them learn alongside the students!

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Building confidence

Students love coming to Code Club to hang out with friends and learn how to code. When they leave, they are always telling me about how they will continue working on their project at home, or that they plan to buy a Raspberry Pi.

A favorite memory from my Code Club is when one student, a pretty shy kid who didn’t interact with many other students socially, jumped at the opportunity to become our first Code Club student mentor. During Code Club, I asked him to assist another child, saying that they were in good hands as the student mentor knew more than I did. The next week, when someone raised their hand for help and I started to make my way over, my student mentor popped up and said, “I’ll be right there, I know more than Mr. Wilke.” Hearing this new-found confidence was music to my ears!
 

Helping others start their Code Clubs

Once I’d experienced the joy of facilitating a Code Club, I knew I had to share it with the world and help train other teachers to get started. I currently help run Code Club training at conferences in the US, supporting teachers in learning to use Raspberry Pis and how to start a Code Club. In training sessions I always emphasise that the leader doesn’t need to be a computer science expert. You can learn alongside your students, and Code Club’s step-by-step coding guides allow the students to work at their own pace, with only limited adult instruction necessary. Educators always love how flexible the program is and how there are many different ways you can structure the club to work in your environment.

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I spread the word about Code Club because of what it creates: on the surface, students are following coding guides and working on individual projects, but upon closer inspection, they are learning invaluable concepts like computational thinking and collaboration. Bringing a Code Club to your community creates a safe place for students to code, play, and learn together. Raspberry Pi Certified Educators like to say that Picademy helped them find their people — Code Club helps kids find their people, and their very own coding community.

My advice to anyone thinking of starting a Code Club is to go for it! When I started mine, I had very little experience using Scratch — I even told my students that on many projects we would be learning together. If you are thinking of starting a club, I really can’t recommend it enough!

Get involved

Picademy sessions run throughout the year in the UK and North America. Keep an eye on the Picademy webpage or Raspberry Pi’s Twitter feed to find out when the next round is taking place. And if you don’t want to wait, you can sign up today for our free online FutureLearn course on preparing to start a Code Club here.

Wherever you are in the world, head to www.codeclubworld.org to find out how to start a Code Club in your community.

Secondary school Code Clubs in Malvern

For the past seven years as a Computing at School (CAS) Lead School, the Computing Faculty at The Chase has been working with primary and secondary schools across Worcestershire to inspire teachers and children to get excited about coding and digital making. John Palmer, Faculty Leader for Computing & Business at The Chase, explains the role Code Club plays for students of both primary and secondary ages.

Code Club and The Chase

One project that The Chase has enthusiastically supported is Code Club, which is supported in Malvern by STEM Ambassadors from local organisations such as Key IQ, borwell, QinetiQ, UTC Aerospace Systens, and Malvern Instruments.

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Malvern now has one of the highest concentrations of Code Clubs in primary schools anywhere in the UK, and the Malvern Code Club community has grown rapidly — there are a large number of volunteers, educators, parents, and young people who make Code Club possible. We have seen how having a club has helped primary schools adapt to the challenges of the new computing curriculum. Moreover, we are starting to see the impact of Code Club in skilling up and enthusing the next generation of students. It has led to a large number of students studying GCSEs in Computer Science at The Chase, and to both staff and students running a range of computer science STEM activities and clubs, which see a huge demand from students.

Code Club for secondary ages

Starting in September, The Chase is one of the first schools in the UK to set up a new secondary school Code Club for students Years 7 and 8 following the official expansion of the Code Club programme.

The Chase Code Club

Jenny Palmer (Y8 student), John Palmer (Faculty Leader for Computing & Business at The Chase), Jacob Walker (Y10), Nick Howden (STEM Ambassador, UTC Aerospace Systems)

Supporting the Chase Secondary Code Club will be STEM Ambassador and Engineer Nick Howden from UTC Aerospace Systems. UTC Aerospace support a number of STEM Activities at The Chase, including a STEM activity day in July for Year 8 students, which included a range of activities involving Spheros and based on coding, engineering, and robotics. Nick says:

“We are delighted to be involved in what is a superb opportunity for students at The Chase. It will give us access to new educational resources, which we hope be interesting and exciting and meet the needs of older club members and more experienced coders. The activities help students develop a wide range of skills in addition to coding, such as teamwork, problem-solving, and creativity, all of which are vital to their future success.”

This will give our students further opportunities to develop skills vital in the 21st century, and we must thank Code Club and UTC Aerospace for their support with this. Chase STEM students really are the next generation of Malvern’s brilliant brains which will ultimately enable the UK to innovate in the global marketplace.

A message from the team at Code Club

We’ve recently extended the Code Club age range to include secondary school ages up to 13, increasing the reach of our support and projects to more students, schools, and volunteers across the world.

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If you’d like to start a Code Club in your school, or dedicate time to volunteering in the UK, check out our website.

Want to find out about Code Clubs across the globe? Head to Code Club International for information on your nearest partner.

Join us at Bett 2017!

Next week brings another opportunity for educators to visit Code Club and the Raspberry Pi Foundation at Bett 2017, the huge annual EdTech event in London. We’ll be at ExCeL London from 25-28 January, and we’ll be running more than 50 workshops and talks over the four days. Whether you’re a school teacher or a community educator, there’s something for you: visit our stand (G460) to discover ways to bring the power of digital making to your classroom and beyond.

BROWSE OUR TALK AND WORKSHOP TIMETABLE

Find us at our STEAM Village stand (G460) to take part in free physical computing and STEAM workshops, as well as talks led by Code Club staff, and members of the Code Club community. The Raspberry Pi Foundation have a huge range of workshops running for all levels of ability, which will give you the opportunity to get hands-on with digital making in a variety of different ways.

Below are some of the Code Club workshops you may be interested in joining:

Date Time Session Name Location
Wednesday 25 January 12:30 How to start a successful Code Club in your school G460
15:30 Build a Scratch games controller with Code Club G460
16:45 Computing Playground with Raspberry Pi and Code Club G460
Thursday 26th January 11:45 Build a Scratch games controller with Code Club G460
12:30 Adventures in Primary Computing G460
16:15 How to start a successful Code Club in your school G460
Friday 27th January 13:00 Build a Scratch games controller with Code Club G460
16:45 Computing Playground with Raspberry Pi and Code Club G460
Saturday 28th January 10:30 Build a Scratch games controller with Code Club G460
12:30 How to start a successful Code Club in your school G460
13:00 Code Club Primer Session HE Summit Space
14:15 Computing Playground with Raspberry Pi and Code Club G460

Additionally, our CEO Philip Colligan will be launching an exciting new free initiative to support educators, live in the Bett Show Arena at 13:25 on Wednesday 25 January. Philip will be joined by a panel of educators who are leading the movement for classroom computing and digital making.

We’re looking forward to the opportunity to speak to so many different educators from across the world. It’s really important to us to spend time with all of you face-to-face: we want to hear about the great things you’re doing, answer your questions, and learn about the way you work and the challenges you face so we can improve the things we do. We really do value your feedback enormously, so please don’t hesitate for a moment to come over and ask questions, query something, or just say hi! And if you have questions you’d like to ask us ahead of Bett, just leave us a comment below.

See you next week!