Micro-interview with Code Club Growth Partner, Generación Tec 

Enjoy our micro-interview blog series, where we chat to educators and young coding enthusiasts and hear about their Code Club experience. 

Generación Tec is a Code Club Growth Partner in Peru. In 2019, they started to grow the club network in the capital, Lima, through a project managed by the British Council.

Building a sense of community is an important part of Code Club; this can be done by celebrating young people’s successes and by providing ongoing support to volunteers. Generación Tec shines a light on how they’re doing just this in Peru.

Let’s get started…

Why do you believe it is important to recognise the achievements of young people in Code Clubs?

Since computing education is not part of the Peruvian curriculum, it is important to provide students with spaces to learn and develop computing skills, and more importantly, their computational thinking. Also, it is important to foster STEAM education and the participation of more girls in STEAM careers, and Code Clubs are the perfect space for that.

There is a “diploma culture” in Peru. People are used to receiving certificates and diplomas for their participation and achievement, and they become part of their “Curriculum Vitae”. Parents like to share their kids’ accomplishments, as they are considered a reflection of their “good job” as parents too.

How does Code Club build a sense of community among learners? 

By sharing the opportunity with their peers and being able to solve problems together, they create bonds that go beyond the Code Club space. It gives young people the opportunity to share what they have learned with a sense of pride and belonging. 

It is important for them to know that there are other young people that share their interests, and to feel they are not the “weird” ones. Sometimes an interest in science and computing in early ages is considered less important than an interest in sports, for example, and is not promoted. 

That is why it makes it even more important to provide a fun, safe space to develop their talents.

Can you share how you’re building a community of volunteers for Code Clubs in Lima?  

In August, we started with an open call for volunteers, and an information session for school leaders, where we will promote the opening of new Code Clubs.

We have found that the main setback is the lack of confidence of teachers and volunteers, and their fear to “fail” as Code Club leaders. By providing early training and ongoing support, we will address that particular issue and help Code Clubs live longer, healthier, more fun lives. 

Thanks Generación Tec, keep up the good work!

If you enjoyed this micro-interview, read our micro-interview with Sue and learn about her experiences of using the Code Club resources and projects in her club, in the UK. 

If Generación Tec’s journey with Code Club has sparked your interest, explore how you can become a Code Club Global Partner!

Progression in Code Clubs: What matters to you?

Although Code Clubs are fun and informal, some clubs like to observe and track the progress that their members make. Over the summer, we consulted members of our global Code Club community to find out what you see and value as progress.

We also talked about the tools available to help you observe and celebrate progress. Here’s what you told us!

Melbourn Code Club

What kind of progress do you value seeing in your Code Club?

The progress that our community talked about most was growth in confidence and independence, followed closely by growth in “creativity and innovativeness”. 

Firstly, I want to see our learners being happy and enjoying the club. I like to see the students’ skills develop. I like to see them make their own things to build their skills beyond the tutorials. Rhiwbina Library, Wales

The most interesting thing for us is to observe if students are changing the projects we propose, and if they are creating their own things away from the club. Also we’re interested in stimulating teacher confidence in using Code Club tools outside of the club environment. Tagusvalley, Portugal

I’d like to see them code better and design applications that have direct application in the real world. Faridabad, India

Club members from St Paul’s C of E Academy, Sandwell

Our community also wanted to see coders “tackling and grasping more challenging concepts” as well as growing their  “problem solving, debugging, and critical thinking” skills.

I like to see the young people tackling increasingly complex projects, and having the confidence to move from Scratch to Python, or to try physical computing with Picos or micro:bits. Cranmere Primary, England

What progress would you like to keep track of?

Clubs are interested in easy, automatic ways to track progress. The progress most clubs wanted to keep track of was young people’s development of “programming skills” followed by their progression through Code Club projects and pathways

I would like to be able to see what kinds of functions students were able to add to a program independently. For example, if a student used an if/else conditional appropriately or if they used a function that they created. Dr Knox Middle School, Canada

Specific skills, such as using selection, sequence, repetition, and variables.
Kingston St. Mary Primary School, UK

I’d like to see pupil progress along the various learning pathways. This can easily allow a club facilitator to know who’s progressing and at what pace. Crosshall Junior School, UK

Children having fun with code!

Other community members told us they were also interested in tracking the development of computational logic as well as learning confidence and independence; however, some were not keen on tracking at all. 

I don’t feel the need to track progress at all. It is a non-formal club, not a lesson. Anonymous

Why track progress?

Our community members expressed a general consensus that tracking progress increased awareness of learners’ progression and several people discussed other positives to monitoring development.

For example, Fiona Lindsay from Hillside School in Scotland valued automatic tracking of individual progress as she felt this would give her a better appreciation of how each child is progressing and who is able to then support newer members of the club.

I’d really like an automatic track of where they are in a project, so I can monitor this, to help me keep better track of where each pupil or pair actually is in their learning journey.

Meanwhile, Sue Gray from Fakenham Library said she uses a spreadsheet to see who has attended her club, how often they’ve come, and what projects they’ve already done. This has helped her to see who is ready to move on to the Introduction to Python path or other projects beyond the Introduction to Scratch pathway.

Similarly, Nick Nurock from Thomas’s Academy felt it would be helpful to receive an automatic reminder of which blocks or commands had been used successfully in a previous week so as to know which concepts to move onto (or remain on) in the following week. 

How to track progress in your Code Club

One way to follow your members’ progress is to create pupil accounts. These enable young people’s work to be saved, so you and they can revisit projects and see how much they have progressed.

You can use Scratch accounts to save projects on our Scratch pathways and Raspberry Pi accounts or Trinket accounts to save projects on our Python and Web design pathways. With a Raspberry Pi account, learners’ progress is tracked automatically through all our pathways. Find out more about this on our digital progress tracking FAQ.

You spoke…we listened! More ways to celebrate progress

We’re excited to share two new resources that we’ve developed in response to some of the needs expressed by members during our community consultations. We hope that they will help you to observe and celebrate progress in your club — no matter how small!

  1. The Unique Feedback certificate is blank and editable. You can tailor it to whatever is valuable to you, to recognise and celebrate your learners.
  2. The accounts permissions letter: this is a template letter for you to obtain parental permission for learners to use accounts during or outside of Code Club sessions. We’ve updated it to include the Raspberry Pi Foundation Code Editor and Raspberry Pi accounts so you can use the automatic tracking features to monitor your learners’ progress. This editable version of the accounts permission letter can be sent to parents by email, while this printable version can be printed and filled out manually.
Unique feedback certificate

We hope that these two new resources will help you keep track of what matters to you. If you have another way to monitor progress that you’d like to share with us, you can contact us at support@codeclub.org 

Five HTML and CSS projects for your Code Club to try!

Get ready to dive into the basics of HTML and CSS with your Code Club! The Code Club team and friends share their favourite web design projects and why you should give them a go in your club. We have the perfect project that will make learning HTML easy and fun for everyone — from beginners to experienced coders.

In a classroom, an educator and a student look at a computer screen, both are smiling.
Dive into the basics of HTML and CSS

What is HTML and CSS? 

Let’s start with the basics! HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) is used to structure webpages, and it provides the framework for content e.g., text, images, and videos. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), on the other hand, sets the style and appearance of the content e.g., fonts, colours, sizes, and positioning. Together they create the visual appearance of a webpage. They are not programming languages, but using them effectively requires many of the same skills.

Why introduce web design into my Code Club?

Text-based languages like HTML and CSS are easy to learn and trouble-shoot. They provide the opportunity for young people to learn how they can code creatively to address real-world challenges or subjects that interest them. Alongside this, learners develop their problem-solving and logical thinking skills: all vital attributes to become a confident coder! 

Introduce web design into your Code Club

By exploring these languages in your Code Club, young learners get first-hand experience of real skills used in industry and an insight into future career paths.  

Try these HTML/CSS resources in your club (they’re our favourites!)

Express yourself!

Code Club provides a safe learning environment where young people can use digital technologies to express themselves in their own way. In our Mood board project, learners make design choices based on their interests.

“Code Club members who have learning disabilities have enjoyed working on this project as it enables them to communicate their moods and emotions, which they can sometimes find hard to verbalise.”

Darren Bayliss, Community Coordinator, Ireland.

Coding as a creative outlet 

Creativity and CSS go hand-in-hand and this sunrise animation project is a great way to light up any Code Club session! 

“The first time I tried this project, I was so excited to discover that CSS could be used to create animations! It’s a really fun project with lots of opportunities to add your own creative flair.”

Kat Leadbetter, Community Manager

Sunrise animation project

Create your own meme! 

Bring the fun into your Code Club with our cat meme generator! This is a great little project for learners to explore CSS styles. 

“What could be more fun than a cat meme? There are great step-by-step instructions that make the whole project simple, easy to follow, and great fun. Your cat could be the star of your very own memes!”

Helen Gardner, Coolest Projects Manager

insert hilarious caption..HAHAHA so funny.
Cat meme generator

Shiver Me Timbers – you can speak pirate too! 

Who doesn’t want to talk like a pirate! Your Code Club hearties will be introduced to HTML and Jquery to create live updates on a webpage in this simple Talk like a pirate project.

“When I first learned to control a webpage through code, I remember it feeling like a superpower. This project teaches learners how to do that whilst also having the fun of pirate speech!”

Mac Bowley, Learning Manager

Make me laugh!

If your Code Club always has a story or a joke to share, encourage your members to learn the HTML basics and create a club webpage with their favourite tales!

“Such a simple project, but so powerful as learners use it to express themselves and share their interests (or just a great joke). A great project when you have mixed abilities as there is so much personalisation and tinkering — everyone can approach it at their own level.”

Tamasin Greenough Graham, Head of Code Club

An illustration of a book with a robot on the front cover.
Create a club webpage

Explore our free educational project paths

You can find all the Code Club classics on our projects webpage or explore our educational project paths, where coders are guided through new coding and design skills to make things that matter to them.

If you’re looking for other HTML resources to support learners with the basics of HTML and CSS, download our ‘Introduction to Web’ progress chart, which complements our ‘3…2…1…Make!’ Introduction to Web project path. As learners complete projects, they can collect stickers or colour the badges to mark their achievements.

You can access the progress chart and sticker template from your club dashboard: log in to your resource page and find them under ‘Progress charts’.

Looking for more inspiration to fuel your Code Club? Explore and discover the Scratch and Python projects that excite the Code Club team too!