Micro-interview with Code Club Growth Partner, Solomon

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

Solomon’s organisation, The Unique Foundation, has been a Growth Partner since 2019. He runs a thriving Code Club at his learning and resource centre in The Gambia and describes his club as creative, empowering, and innovative.

The children who attend represent a diverse mix of boys and girls that come from 20 different schools in the area, and Solomon shares why Code Club is an essential part of their learning journey.

The Unique Foundation

Enjoy this micro-interview with Code Club growth partner, Solomon. 

Let’s get started…

What inspired you to become a part of the Code Club network?

We strongly believe in the transformative power of digital skills and their potential to create opportunities for young people. Witnessing the lack of access to computer knowledge among high school graduates in The Gambia and other sub-Saharan African countries inspired us to take action. By bridging the digital skills gap, we aim to empower young individuals to thrive in the 21st century.

How does your Code Club empower young coders to develop a sense of independence?

Our Code Club empowers young coders to develop a strong sense of independence and self-resilience through our focus on developing technical skills. Through hands-on learning and practical experience, our young coders gain confidence in their abilities, foster their problem-solving skills, and develop the resilience necessary to tackle challenges in the rapidly changing digital world. By nurturing their cross-cultural communication and innovation abilities, we empower them to become independent learners.

Why do young people in The Gambia find Code Club appealing?

Code Club is appealing and well-received amongst young people in The Gambia due to its interactive and engaging learning approach, empowering them to be creators and express their creativity through coding. Developing future-ready skills prepares them for opportunities in the digital world, while the sense of community and collaboration fosters peer support. Additionally, Code Club’s international recognition and access to resources enable participants to learn from and collaborate with young coders globally, broadening their horizons.

How can participating in Code Club benefit young people’s future opportunities?

They can expect to develop coding and digital literacy skills that will serve as a strong foundation for higher education in computer science or related fields. Code Club fosters innovation, encouraging young participants to pursue entrepreneurial ventures or contribute to existing companies. Collaboration and networking within the coding community can lead to internships and mentorships, while participation in tech competitions and hackathons provides platforms for recognition and potential job offers. Global exposure opens doors to remote work opportunities and international collaborations, shaping a promising future.

Thank you, Solomon!

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

Set your writer’s side free with National Novel Writing Month!

Join the US team in participating in National Novel Writing Month throughout November and write to your heart’s content!

There’s a million stories inside us, all just waiting to be told. But it’s up to each of us to let them out! You’re not alone in wanting to share your story: this month, something HUGE is taking place in the world of writing — it’s National Novel Writing Month!

Every year, writers and storytellers in the US spend the month of November writing their own stories with the aim of completing a first draft by the end of the month. But writing isn’t the only way to tell a story, so we want to challenge your Code Club members to unleash their storytelling skills and harness their coding skills to create an original story in Scratch!

This challenge presents a brilliant opportunity for young people to explore not only their creative writing skills, but also to develop their critical thinking and problem-solving skills by using Scratch to build interactive stories and animations. It will empower young people to share their thoughts and ideas, and to express what truly excites them.

Get started: Pick a genre and plot

It’s easy to get intimidated by the blank page, especially when you’re trying to come up with an original story on your own, but there are a number of ways to make it easier for your club members to begin this challenge. To start, it might be helpful to have your coders think about what genre they want to explore. Genres can loosely be described as:

  • Fiction – a story where most, if not all of the details, are created from your imagination
  • Nonfiction – a story where all of the details are true, meaning everything actually happened
  • Poetry – a story written in “lines” and “stanzas”, rather than paragraphs, and that can sometimes rhyme
  • Drama – a story that is usually acted out in a play, musical, ballet, etc.

Next, get your students to think about their favorite story; this can help them find inspiration for what type of story they want to tell. And once they feel good about their idea, they can start putting their story together for their coding project!

Write your heart out

Once your club members are happy with their story idea, the next step is to create a Scratch project where they can bring their story to life and share it with others. Check out this project card we’ve made with writing-themed projects to help your coders explore different ways they can code their story. As always with coding, the possibilities are endless! Maybe they’ll want to format their story as a comic or have it acted out on a theater stage with different sprites playing each character.

However they choose to tell their story, we want to see it!

Three projects to help your coders

Check you’ve got the write stuff

This challenge is designed to take place over the course of the entire month of November, so it’s important for your coders to keep track of their progress. We’ve created a checklist to help them make sure their project has all the necessary elements, and when they’re ready to share their tale, your authors can upload their projects to our dedicated storytelling Scratch studio. 

  1. Pick a genre for your story
  2. Brainstorm an original story idea
  3. Come up with an exciting title
  4. Start writing your story
  5. Complete a first draft of your story
  6. Create a Scratch project where you can share your story
  7. Proofread your story and check your code 
  8. Upload your story to our Scratch studio
  9. Share your project on social media using the hashtag #MyCodeClub
  10. You’re done! 

Let your writer’s side shine! 

We have an inkling that this challenge is going to be full of page-turners! We’d love to see how your students get on with this, so make sure to use the hashtag #MyCodeClub to share what your Code Club is working on!

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!