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.