Our Programme Coordinator Dave Hazeldean has been on a mission to get feedback from teachers and volunteers who run Code Clubs to help us improve our support for you. He met with people at meetups in Brighton and London and at the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow to listen to what they have to say.
I’ve been facilitating focus groups with Code Club volunteers and teachers, and it has reminded me of the importance of two of life’s great skills: listening and understanding.
As Programme Coordinator for Code Club, I provide email support to educators and volunteers, meaning I read messages from people and assist with their questions and challenges all the time. In addition to helping these people resolve their queries, I use the insights I gain to recommend improvements to our Code Club resources and the wider programme.
Emails are great, but I decided I also need some in-depth — and especially in-person — feedback. So together with my colleague Lucia Flóriánová, one of our researchers at Raspberry Pi, I piloted some roundtable discussions at meetups to understand volunteers’ obstacles and concerns better.
We’re refining our resources for you
When planning these pilot sessions, we decided to focus on feedback on the free resources we provide to active clubs, such as certificates, posters, and letter templates.
Lucia and I asked the focus group participants about a selection of our existing resources, and we discussed what their reasons were for using or not using them. This helped us identify the resources that volunteers find most useful. As a result, the Code Club team has tailored our welcome pack for new clubs, so it now includes the most popular ones. And during a brainstorm with the participants, some great ideas for new resources also came up, which we will poll in the wider community over the coming months, so watch this space!
We’re making it easier to take part in our competitions
We also discussed Code Club competitions, which are an initiative we launched last year for active clubs. It was reassuring to hear from volunteers directly that the competitions have been very well received.
However, we learned that some clubs were unable to enter because some volunteers plan their sessions many weeks in advance and so hadn’t had enough notice from us. Therefore, for our latest competition, we made sure to send out a ‘save the date’ email a few weeks before the launch, and we also extended the submission window. The club leaders told me that children would be excited to take part together with young people from other countries, and so our new competition is open to every registered Code Club across the world!
Lucia particularly wanted to talk to our volunteers to find out more about children’s learning in the club sessions. She says:
The discussion with club leaders really helped me understand how they perceive the children’s learning. We want to find the best way to support them with learning resources which help children learn the right skills, and which also fit with volunteers’ ideas of how they would like informal learning in their club to look.
We’re taking your feedback on board
By listening to and understanding what our focus group participants told us, we’ve been able to make immediate improvements to our offerings for you. I really enjoyed the discussions, and in 2019 I’ll be running regular sessions to reach out for your feedback and understand what makes your Code Clubs tick.
If you’ve got questions or feedback about Code Club, you can drop Dave a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.