Educator Sophie, shares her experience to help you get started with Code Club

In February 2021 Sophie Hudson, a teacher at Linton-on-Ouse Primary School and Nursery, took the leap and launched her first Code Club! 

Sophie shares what she has learnt from running online sessions and her advice on how you can get started with your Code Club. 

Female teacher Sophie Hudson stands in front of a wall mural
Sophie Hudson

Sophie’s helpful pointers

If you’re ready to set up a Code Club in 2021, Sophie has three helpful pointers that gave her the confidence to start a club. 

1. Head online

I completed the FREE online FutureLearn Prepare to Run a Code Club course. This really helped me to understand how to run a club and what I needed to do to get Code Club ready! 

Take part in the Code Club meetups! Joining the meetup showed me that there is a great community ready to answer my questions, if I need help.

2. Learn together

Admit when you are ‘learning together’. It’s been really good for the children to see me work things out and hear my thought processes. The Code Club projects are really useful and provide a clear pathway through Scratch and onwards! 

I was worried that I wouldn’t be knowledgeable enough to lead a Code Club effectively, but I couldn’t have been more wrong — learning together has proven to be a powerful tool!

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3. Don’t worry!

Don’t worry about new projects! I’m looking forward to getting into the Python/HTML projects with the more advanced club members. Now I’m accustomed to the projects, I feel confident I will be able to do this without getting into a pickle!

What were the highlights?

It’s been seeing the children’s progress! A few children started off needing me to talk through each step with them, but now they are often steps ahead of me! There are two girls who are quietly gaining confidence to stray from the projects and create something totally different. I’m pleased to see their confidence grow and the pride they have when sharing their projects.

What do young coders think of this new Code Club? 

“I like that we can do it together and also we can do it on our own. My favourite project so far is probably the ghost game because I used a bat and made it my own. It was a bit tricky online to start [with] but it got easier as I did more projects.”

Joe, Year 4 coder

Final words from Sophie

I was nervous to start my Code Club online, but in the end it was completely worth jumping in at the deep end! The children have really enjoyed it and now some of them can meet in the classroom, it is clear that they have been able to follow the projects themselves and learn so much from it.

Six primary school children sat at their desks with laptops.
Code Club members meeting in-person

Learn how you can go online with Code Club 

Take a look at our ways to run a Code Club page for everything you need to know about taking your Code Club online. 

Club leaders’ quick-fire guide to Coolest Projects!

Coolest Projects online is just around the corner and there’s still time for your Code Club members to go on an adventure with code and share their COOL ideas with the world! 

We want to make sure you have all the support you need to help your coders make their ideas a reality! To help, we called in our friends to share their advice, from getting started with an idea, to testing and reviewing a finished creation. 

Let’s break it down  

Members in your Code Club have developed a super COOL idea, and now they’re ready to start to bring them to life. Raspberry Pi Senior Learning Manager, Allen Heard, shares his advice to help coders break down their idea and get started! 

Test and test again 

Testing your project is a vital step in the coding process. Rohima Crook, Programme Manager for Code Club, talks through ideas to support your curious-coders to test their projects. She encourages members to collaborate with friends and family and to gather feedback on their project. 

There’s a bug in my code! 

During your coders’ testing phase, they may come across a bug! Mark Calleja, Youth Programmes Manager, is here to help your coders use their problem-solving skills to find and fix bugs in their programs.  

Code Club has a helpful debugging poster to guide coders through the different steps. If you’re based in the UK, the USA, or Ireland, head to your dashboard to download. For the rest of the world, you can access the resource via our Code Club international website

Time to review 

Stepping back and reviewing your projects is an important detail in taking part in Coolest Projects. Kevin Johnson, North America Program Coordinator, shares his helpful suggestions on the different ways you can support coders to review their project and ensure it meets their initial design brief.

Alongside these bitesize tips, the Coolest Projects team have a host of FREE resources you can use to help your club members take part in this global showcase

Join the global showcase

We’ve seen 39 countries register their COOL ideas for this year’s Coolest Projects online showcase. Young creators have until 3 May to submit their creations and if you need further support, check out the FAQs or send an email to hello@coolestprojects.org

Young coder Kayla ‘Zooms’ around the world to meet the women of Code Club!

Meet Kayla! A young coder and our roving reporter for International Women’s Day! 

During Kayla’s half term, she ‘Zoomed’ around the world meeting the women of Code Club to learn more about the programme and the #RealRoleModels who have inspired them. 

Young coder Kayla, wearing a grey beanie hat in front of a bookcase
Young coder Kayla

From Manchester to Sydney

I loved attending Code Club, it allowed me to be logical and creative. When I moved to secondary school, I continued to volunteer to help inspire other young girls to study computing. 

I was so excited to meet with Nicola, Program Manager for Code Club Australia and learn more about the importance of women in tech. 

She said this interesting thing:

“We can’t underestimate the value of a woman teaching a girl coding — it’s so powerful. Just like I was told when I first started out in this industry, there are still girls being told that STEM is not for them. To have a woman work in tech and say “I love tech and this is why you should love tech” that’s the best —  so good!” 

Everyday #RealRoleModels 

Next, I caught up with Zoë Kinstone, Director of Clubs at the Raspberry Pi Foundation which means she is responsible for Code Clubs. I wanted to learn about her every day #RealRoleModels.

Zoë has had many different real role models, including her mum who encouraged her “to have a go and try new things” and “to learn and be curious”.  

I really liked this, as my mum is very similar. My mum volunteers at a Code Club and she inspired me and everyone else who came along to be brave, have fun, and learn to code.

Next stop India! 

My next stop was really exciting. I got to travel to India (okay, only via Zoom, but still exciting)!  

I met with Vasu, Programme Coordinator for Code Club India. I got to hear all about what it’s like to be part of a Code Club in India, which is very different from my experience in the UK. 

This was my favourite bit of our chat: 

Kayla: What is it like being involved in Code Club and how does it inspire you? 

Vasu: Code Club rekindled my love of making and creating. As a child, I wasn’t exposed to computing, but now I get to inspire other young girls, often in very rural communities, to gain access to these essential life skills.

Kayla: What access do these girls have to computers?  

Vasu: Often these girls will have never touched a digital device, but Code Club has opened the door and given them access to Raspberry Pi [computers] and other digital devices to learn how to code and make games in Scratch. 

Identical real role models 

Finally, I got to meet Caitlyn Merry, who is a Learning Manager for the Raspberry Foundation which means she gets to create all the cool Code Club projects

She also had some very inspiring role models which made me think about my #RealRoleModels, one who is my geography teacher, Miss Connolly, who I think is fair, kind, thoughtful, and positive.

 And then something unexpected happened…

Caitlyn really showed me the importance of #RealRoleModels and teachers in our lives. 

Final words from Kayla 

I loved ‘Zooming’ around the world meeting the fantastic women at Code Club. The stories they shared were very different from my experiences, but it showed me that real role models have similar qualities, wherever you are in the world.

Real role models exist everywhere. They can be family, friends, educators, work colleagues, young people, or even people you only know through social media. I’m now even more determined to be one of the #RealRoleModels too. 

I’d love to know who the #RealRoleModels are in your life. Share with me on Twitter at Code Club UK or Code Club World