Code Club Rather Useful Seminar

We had Linda Broughton come to see us today and deliver a Rather Useful Seminar about Code Club. Code Club is an awesome non-profit organisation with the aim of getting more kids into coding. Linda pointed out that this is not just so that they can go into computing (although that would be nice), but it is also because knowledge of code makes you a more effective person. Pretty much everything around us is powered by programs and knowledge of how they are made to work is very useful.

Just before the session started I was a bit concerned as we only had five people in the lecture theatre. But I needn't have worried. Everyone was waiting patiently outside the theatre waiting to come in. We had loads of folks wanting to get involved and so I'm now going to sort out another meeting to make up some teams and match them up with some local schools. I was particularly pleased to see lots of students from the First Year turn up.  

The great thing about Code Club is that they do all the hard work before you even turn up at the school. They'll  give you the content  you need to work with the 9-11 year olds that will be waiting for you. The sessions last an hour or so. The kids who are there have specifically asked to turn up after school and take part and you also work with a teacher from the school. Linda says it works great if a team of three or four are assigned to a given school. That way you can go in "mob handed" to help and don't need to worry if have to miss the odd week due to other commitments.

The first step to getting involved is to sign up on their web site and then register as a STEM Ambassador. Being a STEM ambassador is a great way to get involved in promoting science and technology and it also provides you with a route to a DBS check, which you'll need to work in schools. You can find out more here

 

First rule of Code Club: Do talk about Code Club

 I picked up some flyers....

I picked up some flyers....

Yesterday evening I popped down to C4DI to hear Linda Broughton talk about Code Club. I'd not heard of it before, but now I have I think it is a splendid idea. The idea is to give pupils in primary schools some experience of coding, not necessarily with the aim of producing a nation of Mark Zukerbergs, but instead giving kids an appreciation of what software is all about.  

Making, modifying and fixing simple programs is a great way to introduce kids to problem solving and diagnostic techniques that have a huge range of applications, not least in writing code. Code Club has material for Scratch (a neat game creation system), making web based solutions and Python. Volunteers spend an hour a week with the kids going through the content in the context of an after school club. About code. Hence the name. 

 

Code Club do all the heavy lifting, sorting out the insurance and health and safety issues, along with checks that have to be performed so that you can go into schools. You can also work from their curriculum, so you just have to turn up and do the session.  You sign up on their web site (as a school or a volunteer) and then both parties can do a postcode search to find nearby partners to get involved with. 

I think I'm going to sign up for this, but better yet I think it is something that students (and staff in our department) should get involved with. We've run school events before and I've always found that working with kids like this is great fun. Any students who fancy getting involved (it looks great on your CV and gives you some great life skills) can get in touch with me if you like, and we'll see if we can sort out a Hull based effort.