Head shot of educator Sue.

Micro-interview with Code Club educator Sue Gray

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

Meet Sue, a retired secondary school teacher with expertise in key stage 3, key stage 4 BTEC, and GCSE computing (learners aged 11–16). Now leading a Code Club at Fakenham Library in Norfolk, England, Sue describes her experience as fun, evolving, and fulfilling.

Sue told us about her experiences of using the Code Club resources and projects in her club.

Head shot of educator Sue.

Enjoy this micro-interview with Code Club educator Sue Gray

Let’s get started…

Are there any specific Code Club projects that you particularly like? If so, what makes them special to you?

I really like Space talk. You can do so much with this little project. I love showing children how to say thank you in sign language — it always gets a “Wow!” from them. I would love to have more time to be able to investigate further sign language animations.

How have Code Club projects and resources supported the young people’s learning experience in your club?

The project paths and certificates are very popular. The children enjoy the continuity and the building up of their skills. Being able to say, “Remember last week we learned…” helps a lot to remind them that we are on a journey. Seeing them able to quickly recall and use skills learned in previous sessions is a great reward, and then seeing some of them really expand on their skills and experiment is just super. Plus, everyone loves stickers and certificates!

Share a moment when you have seen a young club member grow in confidence.

I had a girl attend some of the very early Scratch sessions that we did in January 2022, and she came back for a set of three ‘Intro to Scratch’ sessions in July 2022 that we ran. She was very shy, but she blossomed during the Code Club sessions. She understood far more than I think she believed she would be able to and then just quietly grew in confidence, and her smiles were joyful to see.

What feedback have you received from learners or parents?

All the children seem to enjoy the Code Club. Everyone leaves with a smile and, very often, having had a “Wow!” moment when they have learned some new skills or experimented and found out something new.

Thank you, Sue!

Could you give one hour a week to inspire the next generation to code? Then sign up and become a Code Club volunteer today.

What I learned running my first Code Club

Join us as we dive into an inspiring journey! This summer, Sarah, our Community Coordinator for Wales, launched a Code Club in South Wales at LIwynypia Primary School. Discover what Sarah learned during this coding adventure. Over to you, Sarah!

Head shot of Sarah standing in front of an old wooden door.
Meet Sarah!

Helo, I’m Sarah, Community Coordinator for Wales. In this role, I am here to support you, our community, and help you run your Code Club with ease, confidence, and as little preparation time as possible, so you can concentrate on providing an environment that is fun, relaxed, and nurturing.

The support we provide is guided by community feedback — comments, requests, and suggestions from educators and young coders. But it’s important that we have on-the-ground experience to fully understand the challenges, and joys, of running a Code Club. This is one of the reasons I decided to start a Code Club this summer.

What I discovered while running my first Code Club

These are the eight things that I learned by running a Code Club.

1. Do the projects you find fun! Code Club is not about ticking boxes or monitoring progression, it’s about fun and creativity. There’s no correct project to start with, so just choose a project you’re comfortable with, and that you think will get the children excited.

2. Set the scene. I started each session with a fun, 5-minute activity to get the children laughing and demonstrate that this isn’t a formal class. I can’t recommend this enough!

3. Don’t worry about finishing the projects — there’s always next week! Some of the projects took much longer than anticipated; Paint box, I’m looking at you! We would have happily continued that project for three sessions if we had more time.

4. There are many different ways to run a club. We ran the club as a codealong for the first three sessions, before moving on to independent working. I sat at the front of the class demonstrating each step using a projector, and the children followed along. Run the club however it works for you and your coders.

Sarah on a GoogleMeet call.
Sarah hosting a codelaong

5. Be flexible. Disrupted travel kept me away from the school for two sessions. Instead of cancelling, we moved the club sessions online those weeks. Although it was much easier to facilitate the club in person, we changed the format to suit us and ran the sessions as a codealong. The children still had fun, and we didn’t have to cancel.

6. Offer choices. Letting the young coders lead the session can be scary, but by offering choices, we can share ownership of the club with the children without giving up all control. Here are some things you could try:

  • Ask what type of project they want to create: a chatbot, an animation, a game, or a storybook.
  • If they enjoyed an activity, bring it back the following weeks. We did a KAHOOT! quiz at the start of every session — there is a huge number of pre-made quizzes to choose from.
  • Let them work with a friend. Collaboration is an important part of coding.

7. Use a Scratch Teacher Account. It makes hosting a show-and-tell much easier if you can access the club members’ work through the linked Teacher Account — and boy, do the children enjoy sharing their work! I recommend selecting a maximum of two projects to showcase each week, or turning the final session into a showcase that parents and guardians can attend.

8. Certificates make a great reward. Rewards are a great way to motivate, engage, recognise achievement, and build confidence in your coders. Check out the huge selection of certificates on your dashboard, including our four new skills-based certificates!

Four certificates, in Welsh on a green background.
These certificates are available in English and Welsh

Explore the support available 

To help you get Code Club–ready, I’d encourage you to download our Club Organiser Pack.  The club organisers’ guide is full of tips to help you feel confident running your club sessions. Have fun with the Code Club bingo card, and celebrate your #MyCodeClub success stories with our educator social cards and GIFs. You can find the pack on your dashboard under ‘Resources’.

Five resources from the Club Organiser Pack.

If you have any tips that could benefit the rest of the community, I’d love to hear them. Get in touch at hello@codeclub.org.

Digital literacy and computing in India

In today’s world, digital literacy and computing skills are essential, and serve as a gateway to coding and computational thinking. In India, there is a pressing need to bridge the gap in ICT skills among youth.

According to the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) report for 2020-21, only a small percentage of young people possess the ability to write computer programs using specialised programming languages.

Recognising this challenge, the third National Education Policy of India, launched in 2020, emphasised the integration of digital literacy, coding, and computational thinking into the curriculum starting from grade 6. There is now a growing acceptance of computing programs for children, like extracurricular or after-school activities in the form of Code Clubs, in the school as well as community.

Four girls looking at two computer screens working on Scratch projects.

History of Code Clubs in India

The Raspberry Pi Foundation had also recognised the need for young people to access ways to learn computing skills, so work in India started in 2018 with one team member, Divya Joseph running the show. By the end of that year, there were 150+ Code Clubs across the country through partnerships and volunteers. In 2019, our team expanded when Vasu joined — and from then, we have never looked back! We partnered with Pratham Foundation and the number of Code Clubs went up to 350+.

The pandemic was a difficult time for most of our clubs — learners and supporters alike. The engagement then was continued through online hackathons and community calls.

In 2022, our team grew to six people, and we started teacher training and registering Code Clubs based in government high schools of Odisha — one of the eastern states. We presently have over 1,100 active Code Clubs.

Learning through the years

While Code Clubs typically run in schools, we realised that the model in India was going to be a unique one. Organisations like Pratham Education Foundation work with out-of-school children and facilitate learning in community centres based in remote villages. Their needs are completely different from what we have experienced before. 

A rural building in India, painted blue with Code Club posters hanging outside.

Fostering a warm and supportive environment for both teachers and students is at the heart of Code Club’s mission. We reached out to the community to understand their situation better because we knew we had to adapt quickly to cater to our community’s needs. 

One such community-focused initiative is “Coding Pe Charcha,” a voluntary session conducted every Friday. The phrase “Coding Pe Charcha” translates to “Discussions over Coding.” Conducted entirely in the local language, Odia, this session is specifically designed for teachers who have been trained and assisted in setting up Code Clubs in government high schools.

To have teachers voluntarily join these sessions week after week, despite their non-computing background and other ground level challenges, points to genuine interest in the area of computing. Interacting with these teachers also enlightens us to their specific support needs — from very basic digital literacy skills, like changing passwords and getting over infrastructural challenges, to using resources which come in English and are prepared for a global audience.

Another community-driven initiative is the “Come together to Learn together” (CTLT) calls. Code Club has always prioritised community engagement, regularly organising quarterly meetups and workshops for community members, some of which are led by the community itself. These gatherings feature panel discussions centred around a chosen theme relevant to their current needs.

Topics have ranged from “Computational Thinking through Offline Activities” to “Introduction to Raspberry Pi Pico.” These calls have consistently attracted approximately 120+ participants, actively involving community members and placing them at the heart of Code Club’s work.

A screenshot of some code being shown as part of a webinar.

Impact of Code Clubs

The impact of Code Clubs in India has been substantial and transformative. Through partnerships with organisations like Mo School Abhiyan (Odisha government) at the school level and Pratham Foundation at the community level, Code Clubs have reached over 32,000 students in high schools across Odisha, with an impressive 54% of them being girls. These Code Clubs serve as a crucial first step for many students in their digital learning journey. 

Suchitra Bhuyan, a Code Club teacher from Brundavan Govt. High School in Jagatsinghpur, Odisha, shares her experience saying, “When I work on coding with my students, I myself feel like a student. Sometimes I learn from them, and sometimes they learn from me. So we, the teachers and students, learn together and create together. When we succeed in creating something, the happiness on their faces is truly heart-touching.”

Five women standing in a row with their thumbs up. Behind them is a screen showing Scratch.

What next?

Looking ahead, Code Club’s focus remains on engaging and supporting existing clubs, partners, volunteers, and teachers. While coding education in India is still in its early stages, particularly among disadvantaged groups, Code Club is determined to expand its reach and empower more children with digital literacy and computing skills. By fostering a warm, community-centric approach and placing the people behind the impact at the forefront, Code Club continues to make a difference in the lives of countless young learners across India.

Through some inspiring people on the ground running these Code Clubs, we are trying to build a community of coding learners and supporters. Do you wish to support us in any of the already running Code Clubs? Do you wish to start a Code Club in your community? Reach out to us at: india@raspberrypi.org