In last week’s instalment we looked at CAS Barefoot Computing and their role in helping teachers to deliver lessons on coding through activities and resources such as Scratch and Crazy Character Algorithms.
This week, Amy delves a little further into the coding and programming resources available and talks about the brilliant Code Club, and how this could be one of the best ways to help young children develop an interest in programming while at the same time having fun and taking part in extra-curricular activities.
Code Club is a nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11. Put simply, it works in the following way – a volunteer who knows how to program computers heads to a local primary school with specially written projects in order to teach 9-11 year olds how to programming in a fun and interesting way.
The projects (which can be found at www.codeclub.org.uk/projects) are step-by-step guides for children to follow so they can learn to create their own animations, games and websites. Children will be challenged to demonstrate what they’ve learned and will build up their skills as they advance through the individual projects.
The Programming Systems:
Code Club has 18 projects that use Scratch, including activities that allow pupils to create their own rock band by learning how to code their own musical instruments; and activities that teach youngsters how to make games in which they can navigate boats or even catch ghosts. There are four projects that concentrate on HTML and CSS such as how to make webpages in order to tell a story, joke or poem; plus 12 projects that can be used for more advanced programming and coding using the language, Python.
While being varied in difficulty, the projects are taught at after-school clubs or at non-school venues such as libraries and community centres. Although the clubs follow the school curriculum, having them set up in environments that feel less like classrooms can maybe spark more interest in pupils who find it difficult to concentrate in an institutionalised, school environment. Volunteers go to their Code Club for an hour a week and teach one project a week. In this way, Code Clubs aim to help students progress, learn more and have the chance to use their growing imaginations to make creative programs.
There are 2,777 Code Clubs already operating in the UK, and Code Club state:
“We’d like to put a Code Club in every single primary school in the country – there are over 21,000 in the UK at the moment. It’s a big task but we think we can do it.”
Learning code is so important now we are living in a digital age, and just knowing how to use modern technology is not enough anymore; “young people should know how the technology works and how to build it as well”, says the Code Club website. They stipulate that learning code isn’t just about learning so pupils can become developers, but it can help strengthen problem solving and improves logical thinking skills and is also very helpful for hobbies, careers and can be used in many other disciplines too.
In order to access these projects you will need a Club ID and a Pin number which can be obtained once you are a registered UK Code Club. Resources and more information about this fantastic network, how to become a volunteer, and how to go about setting up a club in your community and then registering your club can be found on the Code Club website. You can also follow Code Club on Twitter (@CodeClub) and keep up to date with all the exciting new projects that are coming your way soon.