Code Club is Four!

Happy birthday to us,

Happy birthday to us,

Happy birthday dear Code Club!

It’s Code Club’s fourth birthday – hooray! We’re very excited to have reached the big four and we are so grateful to all the fabulous people who have helped us get there, but most of all our amazing volunteers.

CC 4 birthday

Code Club’s CEO, Clare Sutcliffe said “It’s so exciting to see how far Code Club has come over the last 4 years. We’ve grown rapidly as an organisation, expanding across the UK and in countries around the world. With the dedication and passion of Code Club’s volunteers, we have managed to give thousands of children the opportunity to learn about coding and digital making. I am incredibly proud of the amazing achievements of the Code Club community.”

For the mathematically minded amongst you, here’s a few four related statistics especially for our anniversary:

4177 + 4 = 4181 the current number of registered Code Clubs in the UK

500 x 4 = 2000 the number of registered Code Clubs across the rest of the world

27132 ÷ 4 = 6783 the amount of tweets we have sent about Code Club

We’ll be hosting a virtual celebration this week by remembering some of our proudest Code Club moments and sharing them on Twitter & Facebook. Have you got any inspiring, funny or wonderful Code Club moments you want to share as part of the celebration? Share them with us using #CodeClubIsFour

Right, off to find some cake…

Start a Code Club in your library

Over the past year, we’ve had more and more Code Clubs starting in libraries around the country. Ipswich County Library is host to one of those new Code Clubs, and they filled us in on they’re progress so far:


My name is Charmain Osborne and I’m the Assistant Library Manager at Ipswich County Library. As part of my role I have responsibility for the Enterprise and Innovation Hub located on the top floor of the library, this is where our weekly Code Club is held.

I first heard  about Code Club a while ago while carrying out a volunteer role I have outside of the library. The concept interested me, but at that point I wasn’t in a position to be able to move forward. When I started at Ipswich County Library in August 2015 I was quite keen to investigate the idea of a Code Club further. By coincidence a volunteer came in to ask if we could start a Code Club in the library. I didn’t need asking twice!

We’ve set up our Code Club with combination of volunteers; Code Club, STEMnet and High School students. I started off with one volunteer who was very pro-active about getting some other volunteers on board, she continues to be extremely helpful and is an active volunteer at the sessions.  

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The library’s Code Club was featured in the local paper, the East Anglian Daily Times.

At each session we generally have 2 Code Club/STEM volunteers and a couple of High School students. The High School students focus on troubleshooting IT and this allows the Code Club/STEM volunteers to interact with the children. Our group started off at 8 children, after the first group of sessions this was increased to 14. The children range in age from 6-11, the youngest children generally have their parents helping them with the material and the group all work well together. We don’t have rigid structure where the children work systematically through the projects. Instead the children choose their own projects to suit their interest and ability working at their own level; if they choose one that is too hard or too easy they soon change it for another one.

The greatest challenge for our Code Club is also our greatest triumph. The club has been more popular than I imagined. The waiting list continues to grow faster than we can create spaces in our club! I’m now considering starting a second Code Club, I’ve approached a local college who have Level 3 Game Design and IT students to see any of them would like to gain some valuable work experience.

My advice to anyone else working in a library and considering starting a Code Club would be: go for it, what have you got to lose? It’s a really great experience to see the children engaged and learning at a Club they have chosen to come to.


If you’d like to start a Code Club in your library, find out more about hosting a Code Club here: www.codeclub.org.uk/start-a-club/venues.

You can then visit www.codeclub.org.uk/register/host to register as a Club Host.

 

BBC micro:bit launches in London!

On Tuesday we attended the launch of the BBC’s exciting new micro:bit project in London. As a partner organisation of the BBC’s flagship Make It Digital initiative, which aims to get more young people across the UK involved in digital making and computer science, Code Club couldn’t be more excited to see the new micro:bit revealed in all its pocket-sized glory!

The micro:bit, measuring just 4cm by 5cm, is a stripped down computer which children can use to code and create anything they set their minds to! It’s intended as a starter device to give children a basic introduction to physical computing and tinkering, so that they can move on to using the more advanced machines such as Arduino, Galileo and Kano.

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Key features of the micro:bit include:

  • A display consisting of 25 red LEDs
  • Two programmable buttons
  • On-board motion sensor or “accelerometer”
  • A built-in compass or “magnetometer”
  • Bluetooth Smart Technology
  • Three Input and Output (I/O) rings

The introduction of the micro:bit has been inspired by the success of the BBC Micro back in the 1980s (a tool which gave a lot of our Code Club volunteers their first hands-on experience with coding and computer science).

Speaking at Tuesday’s event the BBC’s Director General, Tony Hall said: “Just as the BBC Micro introduced millions to personal computers 30 years ago, the BBC micro:bit can help equip a new generation with the digital skills they need to find jobs and help grow the UK economy.”

We’ll be supporting the BBC micro:bit initiative by creating a set of learning resources for the device, which will be available to use in our Code Clubs to help children harness the power of the device and to see the impact that programming can have on their day-to-day lives.

Children will learn introductory programming and computational thinking concepts, and apply them in making a range of fun programs for their micro:bit.

We’re also really thrilled that the BBC will be providing us with 20,000 micro:bits so that our Code Club members and volunteers can get a chance to use them too – for free! Stay tuned for further details coming soon.

Read more about the micro:bit on the BBC Make It Digital website

*Big thanks to our volunteers Joseph Haig, Marc Burrage and Stephen Manson who gave us a helping hand at the launch event :)