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. 

Jacob shares his top tips to running a fun and engaging Code Club

In February we met educator Jacob from Penpol School in Cornwall. He volunteered to join the Code Club panel as part of the Raspberry Pi educator sessions hosted in London. 

After the event, we caught up with Jacob and asked if he would contribute to our blog and share his experiences of running a fun and engaging Code Club.

Say hello to Jacob

Jacob has been running his Code Club at Penpol School in Cornwall for over three years.  He has a wealth of knowledge on running a Code Club. Let’s find out what his three tips are to running a fun and engaging club! 

Image shows teacher Jacob in his  class room
Jacob from Penpol School in Cornwall

1. Have fun! 

Have fun with it. Running a Code Club is a fantastic chance to engage with students and children in a different way, everyone has come together to have fun and explore ideas with each other. The children have chosen to attend Code Club so they are already excited about the idea — take this energy and run with it! 

2. It isn’t a lesson 

Remember, it isn’t a ‘lesson’. This isn’t like a computing lesson in school, there is no set goal, no endpoint, no ‘finished!’ moment. Instead, children are encouraged to explore projects, take them in any direction they wish and discover new ideas and issues along the way. 

These moments provide excellent learning opportunities for both the children and yourself as they are real-world issues that they have encountered and want to explore, not scenarios you have planned in advance.

Young boy working at a computer
Code Club projects in action!

3. Embrace the dancing ice creams! 

Let the children lead the way. If they want to explore a certain set of resources, let them. If they want to change a project halfway through to incorporate a set of dancing ice creams, let them. They are learning, exploring, and problem-solving — whether in a structured or unstructured way. 

Don’t be afraid to let them take the lead and follow where they want to go.

Three girls sat in a line behind computers, smiling.
Learning to code with friends

You can follow Jacob’s adventures with code on Twitter, start a conversation, and share your Code Club experiences! 

What are your tips? 

What are your tips to running a fun and engaging Code Club? Let us know by tweeting us at Code Club UK & Code Club world using the hashtag #MyCodeClub