Learn online with Code Club and CoderDojo!

Over the past nine months, Code Club and CoderDojo have teamed up to run a series of community calls. In this blog Kat shares some of her favourite sessions, and gives a sneak peak of our new series of online workshops.

In March 2020, we took to the internet in search of a way to support coding clubs who wanted to continue running. Our solution was a series of community calls to share tips and ideas, offer practical examples, and give you the opportunity to ask your questions! 

Twenty one calls, 720 attendees, and lots of fruitful discussions later, here are some of the sessions we loved the most.

Taking your first steps 

In the ‘Ways to restart your Code Club’ session we covered the online, remote, and in-person options for your club, to help you decide which might be the best fit for you.

Rohima shared her perspective as a club volunteer, and talked through how she prepared to run both in-person and online sessions. 

Running online

As Code Clubs around the world went online, we delved into the challenges and also unexpected benefits of running online sessions. 

Our ‘Tools and software for running an online club’ is a great watch for anyone who is starting to plan online sessions. Check it out to discover the pros and cons of some popular video conferencing and live streaming tools. 

A gif showing Kat and Nuala next to a powerpoint slide

In the ‘Best practice for online sessions’ call you can find important safeguarding information, ideas on how to prepare for your session, and useful tips from a club leader. 

A screen grab with Kat, Christina, and Nuala next to a slide sharing online safety and safeguarding

Build your skills 

Over the summer we ran three training sessions on Scratch, HTML, and Python. I particularly loved the Scratch session, which had lots of tips to help you take your Scratch learning further in your club. 

You can find all the recordings of our previous calls on our GoToStage channel.

Join our NEW 2021 series of online workshops

There are three upcoming online workshops, so make sure to register if you’d like to join us. We’ll be discussing: 

Can’t make those times? Don’t worry! Everyone who registers will be sent a recording, so you can always catch up later. 

Got an idea for a future online workshop that you’d like to see? Let us know on support@codeclub.org. You can sign up for all our upcoming online sessions and events over on the Code Club website

How your voice has helped shape Code Club in 2020

This year, we asked the Code Club community to take part in two polls to help the team understand how the coronavirus pandemic was impacting clubs around the world.   

Dave Hazeldean, Code Club’s Data Analyst, shares why answering the polls was so important, how they gave us a better picture of how clubs were running, and how we adapted the programme to support educators to continue to inspire the next generation of digital makers.

Countries and territories of volunteers who responded to our poll in green

What we have learned 

This year we ran two polls, one in May and one in September. More than 3000 Code Clubs from 82 countries and territories participated and shared if their club was running sessions, planning to run sessions, or their club was paused.

As we expected, activity in Code Clubs has been severely disrupted by the pandemic, with many clubs forced to pause their sessions, however Dave shares that there has been some positive news: 

“What I found most encouraging is the increase in the proportion of clubs that were running or planning to run in September when compared with the results that we found in May.”

“Of the clubs that are running or planning to run, almost half will be running their sessions online. We are working hard to provide all of the guidance, resources, and support that clubs need to make the transition to online sessions.” 

“In a recent blog post, we heard from members of our community who are now running their Code Clubs online, which I found particularly inspiring.” 

What support is available to Code Clubs running online or in-person sessions? 

There are some great resources available to support you if you are looking to move your Code Club sessions online, or restart sessions in person. 

To help make the transition from running in person to online, we have created a guide for online sessions that provides a great overview of what you may need to consider. 

If you are eager to run your Code Club online, read our guides for parents supporting young people and young people attending online sessions for additional tips before you get started.

If you’re looking to restart your in-person sessions, take a look at our safety guidance for in-person sessions, and this blog post on clubs who have gone back to in-person meetings. 

You can also join us on a regular community call with the clubs team or listen back to previous calls.  

What’s next? 

The pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, but we are adapting to the new learning environment and hope to continue to give young people the space to thrive. 

From Dave and everyone at Code Club we want to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to inform us about their Code Club by responding to our polls this year. Your voice continues to inspire us to move forward.

Your participation in our campaigns is integral to helping us shape our planning and identify the support you need to run your clubs safely. We will be running more polls, and encourage you to take part and give feedback over the months ahead. 

We are always here to support you and if there is anything you need, contact our friendly support team at support@codeclub.org.

Let’s get back to Code Club safely

Move over August, September has arrived and Code Club has a range of exciting new options to help you restart your Code Club safety.

Guiding you through options

We’ve developed a framework to guide you through which option will suit your club’s current situation. The options are flexible, to allow you to pick and combine elements that will work for your club and venue. 

Members from the Code Club community have kindly shared their learnings and experiences on the options, and provided top tips for getting back to coding this September. 

In-person sessions

When you are ready to restart your club, in-person sessions will run as normal, following guidelines from your local health authority and safeguarding for your venue. Hear how Richard Hayler from Cranmere Code Club in the UK is preparing his club for in-person sessions: 

“We’re really looking forward to when we can resume our in-person sessions and are working with our school on the safest way to do this.”

Online sessions

During August, Rohima and Christina from the Code Club team had fun running online sessions for the Raspberry Pi Foundation. An online session is run by an educator or volunteer; it takes place at a regular chosen time and runs using video conferencing or live-streaming tools.

If your club is considering running online sessions, take a look at the advice from Rohima and Christina: 

  • “Be prepared in your setting — check the sound on your laptop is working, plug in your charger, and have the club window open so you can start promptly.” (Rohima) 
  • “Don’t worry if you only have a couple of children turn up, embrace it. They are there because they want to be, make it a fun place to be, you may just inspire a future coder!” (Rohima)
  • “I learned how different it was to do group coding online vs in person. In some cases, your role is to just check in with kids every 10–15 minutes and facilitate the sharing. Sometimes, it’ll be quiet, so talk to your group about having music!” (Christina) 
  • “Remember to be patient with yourself, participants, and parents, especially with the first session. You’re going to learn so much during the first session that will make your second, third, and fourth session run super smoothly!” (Christina)  

Remote activities

We checked in with D&G libraries in Scotland who are regularly sending out remote activities from the Digital Making at Home programme to parents via their Facebook page. They’re then on hand to answer questions and offer support when needed. 

Here’s what a parent said about the activities:   

“My son really enjoyed the coding club over the summer, he had done a little before and picked up how to do it very quickly. It was fun and interactive and he has been back time and time again trying new things.”

Keeping your club flexible 

The pandemic is keeping us on our toes, and we know that clubs may not always be able to run consistently in-person, online, or remote activities. Leeds Libraries used a pick-and-mix approach to running their Code Club, read about how they got on.

We encourage you to feel confident to pick and combine the options according to what best suits you and your venue.

Take a look at our ways to run a Code Club page for everything you will need to get your club back up and running this September, including new resources, the framework, and updated safeguarding guidance.