Our Code Club global tour — find out what we learned!

Over the last year, our global Code Club team has missed being able to make in-person club visits. Seeing our clubs’ creativity, enthusiasm, and love of coding first-hand is a massive inspiration to us.

This year, the team decided to take a tour of the world to visit clubs online, and in some countries in person, to see how everyone is getting on. Here are a few highlights!

First stop…the USA!

Kevin, our Club Program Coordinator for North America, joined educator David Slavin at his online club session at Pajaro Valley Virtual Academy, in California.  

The club members he met were enthusiastic, polite, and keen to share their ideas. They were also excited to learn more about how they could share their coding creations as part of Coolest Projects.

Kevin reflected on his visit:  

“I can’t imagine how difficult it has been for educators and learners to have had to transition to online learning so abruptly, but to see these students bursting with curiosity was inspiring!” 

Let’s head Down Under!

Nicola Curnow, Program Manager for Code Club Australia, has been able to resume in-person club visits and joined Ferntree Gully Club in Melbourne. This club thought about what they have learnt at Code Club and decided to build a school newsletter using their HTML knowledge! 

“When I visited they were working on formatting and editing the newsletter. The teachers and volunteers did an amazing job working together to build the newsletter for their community.”

Approximately 4800 miles away in India…

Vasu, our Club Programme Coordinator in India, had the exciting opportunity to go online to see a hybrid club at Core Programmers Academy in Udaipur, Rajasthan, India. In the session, some children took part in the classroom, while others joined online from their homes.

Vasu enjoyed seeing the club in action and the leader had planned the session perfectly to help the young coders interact and learn alongside each other.

Vasu said:  

 “It’s great to see that the Code Club India community is working so hard to continuously stay updated with different models of learning in this ever-changing new world!” 

Vasu joining the Core Programmers Academy from her home

Meanwhile, in the UK

Zoe, Programme Coordinator for Code Club UK & Ireland, popped online to visit Rugby Library in Warwickshire, where their creative coders were enjoying launching into space with Astro Pi Mission Zero and racing to the finish line of Scratch module one with Boat race!

“It was wonderful to see the kids working independently through the projects and feeling confident to ask for help. I had so much fun and loved when Hazq showed me his super cool Boat race project!”  

The Scratch game Boat race

What we learned 

What shone brightly throughout these visits, is how well everyone has adapted during these challenging times. The resilience of the Code Club community has been nothing short of inspirational.

There may be less noise in an online session, but the fun learning environment where coders can continue to explore and be creative, is still very much alive! 

Visit my club

You can get in touch to invite us to visit your online club. We would love to see and celebrate your amazing achievements, so please share them with us on Twitter at Code Club UK or Code Club World using the hashtag #MyCodeClub! 

Code Club in France: bonjour le monde!

Last month Kat Leadbetter, our International Programme Coordinator, travelled to France to visit a Code Club in Romilly-sur-Seine.

J’arrive en France

It was a beautiful, sunny day when I stepped off the train in Romilly-sur-Seine, a small town about an hour outside Paris. Waiting for me was Fabien Schuft, our Code Club local partner for France.

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Kat and Fabien found time for a quick selfie!

Over the past years, Fabien has been busy growing the number of Code Clubs in France and supporting the French community of teachers and volunteers. At the end of 2016, there were 26 French Code Clubs; now, there are 150 from the north to the south, reaching about 2250 children a week! Plus, right now we offer 43 translated Code Club projects for kids to use in their clubs.

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Poster for a Code Club in France

Our destination for the day was the Code Club at Collège Paul Langevin, one of the first clubs to start in France, more than 3 years ago! Running in the newly renovated school building over lunchtime, the club hosts a mix of children aged 11 to 13 — some coding veterans and others very recent beginners.

Keeping things flexible

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Coding in progress

Club leader Isabelle told me that she believes it is very important to differentiate club time from the normal school day: “Kids are here for fun,” she told me. “We’re in school, but it’s not a lesson; we practise individual pedagogy, and the children can follow their own paths. It’s very flexible!”

In the session, this approach showed itself in how club members practised coding: one pupil was putting a Space Invaders twist on his Clone wars project, while another was creating a game featuring a hilariously abstract puppy-monster; some children chose to work in pairs on their projects, and others chose to code alone.

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Clone Wars with a Space Invaders twist

Walking around the room, what struck me the most was the number of children who said what they loved most about their Code Club was ‘créer’ — to create. They really valued being allowed the flexibility to make both the club and the projects their own, and having a space to use their creativity to make something completely new.

Don’t be afraid!

Isabelle believes that fear of computers should not stop from you getting involved with Code Club: “People who are leading clubs don’t have to be computer scientists, or coders, or experts. They should keep trying things: never stop learning by doing!” Very wise words.

Get involved

You can find out more about Code Club in France at www.codeclub.fr, and if you can help us translate more projects into French, find out about volunteering as a translator for us at www.raspberrypi.org/translate.

Code Club in the USA: 800 clubs and growing!

Since joining the Code Club team in February 2018, US Club Manager Christina has worked to support the growing community of clubs across the United States. Here she shares an exciting update to Code Club USA, and news of what’s to come!

800 clubs and growing!

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Spreading the word about Code Club.

From Honolulu to Houston and Anchorage to Atlanta, there are now 800 Code Clubs across the United States. And we’re continuing to grow: each day, educators across the country are starting new clubs in their communities, creating fun and inclusive spaces for kids to explore programming. This is amazing, and as the US Club Manager, I love every minute of getting to meet our existing clubs and their volunteers, and helping new clubs get started.

When visiting clubs, I always find it interesting to see the differences that make each club unique. In one club, kids will use Chromebooks to code animations in Scratch; in another, children use Raspberry Pis connected to projectors and work on designing web pages with HTML. Some clubs meet during lunchtime, while others meet after school, or in their local library — each club has its own individual flavour!

And despite these differences, all clubs have the same purpose: they are a space for kids to try coding. Clubs are all about the kids, and great Code Club leaders find what works best for their group of children.

Spreading the word across the USA

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Running training at the YMCA.

One of my favourite parts of my job is travelling across the country to spread the word about why people should get involved with Code Club. Just one example was the day I joined the team at YMCA Metropolitan Los Angeles to run a Code Club training workshop. During the session, we discussed how to facilitate a club and worked on my favourite project together: Lost in space. For some participants it was the first time they created code, but that didn’t stop them from jumping right in!

You might think being a coding beginner would make running Code Club difficult, but I think it can be a real advantage. When the adult in the room doesn’t always have the answers, the kids are pushed to take more ownership of their learning experience, which allows them to develop their own problem-solving skills. It’s also important to remember that not always knowing the answer shows that you’re just human and can really endear you to the students in your club!

Get involved

If you’re interested in joining the Code Club community in the US, then head to our website to register your club and download resources to help you get started.

Follow @CodeClub_USA on Twitter to see what we’re up to, or follow me directly at @Foustberrypi.