Digital Moment: Building coding communities in Canada

Code Club partner Digital Moment is supporting young people to learn digital skills in clubs across Canada. Ellie, Global Partnerships Manager, caught up with Matthew Griffin and Léa Guez from Digital Moment to find out more.

Two girls, sat at a desk, looking at their laptops.

Unique challenges

Digital Moment was founded in 2013 with a focus on creating programs and experiences for young people and their communities on digital skills, covering coding, algorithms, data literacy, and artificial intelligence. Not long after, Digital Moment joined forces with Code Club. On the benefits of the programme, Matthew says:

‘’Code Club is a way for us to build sustainable communities of practice, build depth in our offerings, and engage a diverse audience across the country.’’

Digital Moment faces some unique challenges in giving every child in Canada the opportunity to join a Code Club and learn new digital skills.

Firstly, Canada is huge! From snowy mountains and wild waterfalls, to beautiful blue lakes and built-up cities, Canada stretches almost 4700 miles across. It’s a challenge just to physically reach a large, dispersed population. Additionally, Canada is a country with two official languages. Some clubs use English, some use French, and some use both.

So, how are they overcoming these challenges? In terms of language, Digital Moment always produces materials in both English and French to cater for everyone. See which Code Club projects have been translated into different languages by clicking on the top right-hand box on the Code Club Project site.

The Code Club projects page.

Digital Moment also uses online communication to keep in touch with remote communities that are difficult to get to in person. It helps that the Code Club materials are designed to help clubs pick up the programme quickly and easily, without needing a lot of training to get started.

An inclusive approach

Matthew and Léa say the key to engaging with Canada’s diverse communities is to meet young people where they are at, and use that as the starting point to working together.

Code Clubs provide a great platform to be able to do this. With a wide range of projects, and young people encouraged to share their passions and make what matters to them, Code Club is able to provide an inclusive space for all young people to get involved.

As one Club Leader in Canada reports:

‘’[Code Club] is a safe space that opens many doors and everyone is welcome. The ideas that students come up with are amazing! […] Seeing their smile and sheer joy when they finally “get it” or make it work is magic!’’

The Digital2030 Challenge

In 2019, Digital Moment started a ten-year mission to tackle global problems. They began to provide annual challenges for young people across the globe to develop skills in coding, data, and artificial intelligence, to tackle some of the world’s most pressing issues. The Challenge is available online and there is step-by-step guidance for each activity.

Currently, there are two challenges: Reduction of Plastic Pollution and Good Health & Wellbeing.

A scrolling gif showing the #Kids2030 webpage

The aim is to build a community of socially conscious young people with a shared desire to make the world a better place. Does that sound like the young people in your Code Club? Digital Moment invites you to get them involved! The Challenge is open to young people everywhere. Why not take a look at the current Challenges together at your next club meeting, and look out for the third Challenge launching in August 2023.

Try out The Challenge with your Code Club and keep up to date with the launch of the next activity by visiting

TagusValley: Telling stories from Portugal through digital making

TagusValley, a science and technology park in Portugal, partners with Code Club to give local young people the opportunity to express themselves through digital making.

Ellie, Code Club Global Partnerships Manager, chatted to Homero Cardoso, Project Manager at TagusValley and one of the co-founders of its Code Club network to find out more.

Five people facing the camera smiling .
The TagusValley Code Club team

How it started

In the heart of Portugal lies a small municipality called Abrantes. With a sparse population, and not much in the way of a technology industry, many of the young people here think you need to go somewhere bigger for new opportunities — that is until TagusValley brought Code Clubs into local schools.

Homero saw the potential in using Code Clubs to show young people how fun technology can be and how it can open up endless possibilities. He trialled Code Clubs in ten classrooms for a few months, working with teachers to deliver the sessions. It was a big hit.

‘‘The kids loved it, the teachers loved it, the municipality loved it.’’

The local municipality loved it so much they wanted to fund the programme to continue. So Homero gathered a small team to go out to local schools and continue to support teachers in running clubs. They now visit 30 classrooms a week.

“For us it’s a process of discovery — themselves (the students), their capacity, their ability to create something, their discovery of their surroundings.’’

A young coder looking at a screen working on a Scratch project.
A young coder exploring Scratch

The oldest olive tree in Portugal

Abrantes is home to a 3,350-year-old olive tree. Locals will tell you it’s the oldest in the world, but others may disagree! Children in Code Clubs were tasked with featuring the olive tree in a project. They created a game in which a character is trying to pick the olives from the tree, whilst avoiding a bird that is trying to poop on them! As you can imagine, the coders had a lot of fun creating the characters’ reactions when the bird achieves its mission.

By using culturally relevant storytelling and taking a ‘no limits’ approach, Homero says the children’s imaginations grow and grow.

‘’When they start to have crazy ideas, instead of telling them ‘that’s crazy’, we say ‘that’s really cool!’ Have you thought about something even more crazy! We can create anything!’’

This approach has had a very positive impact. Some children have developed an enthusiasm for coding outside of their regular Code Club. One boy was on holiday when he saw a book on Scratch that he insisted his parents buy him. When he came back to school, it was the one souvenir from his holiday he was most excited to bring back to Code Club and show his friends.

Coding as a universal language

Abrantes is home to a multicultural population. When two Urdu-speaking girls joined a Portuguese-speaking Code Club, coding helped everyone to communicate across the language differences. After a quick bit of online translation to find the Urdu version of Scratch, the girls quickly figured out how to create what they wanted, and were able to share their creations along with their classmates.

A classroom setting with children sat in pairs, working on a laptop.
A Code Club session

You can see which Code Club projects have been translated into different languages by clicking on the top right-hand box on the Code Club Project site.

What’s next?

Homero is keen to get his students involved in next year’s Astro Pi Mission Zero. He is also working on a programme to encourage mature students from local universities to volunteer at Code Clubs.

He would like to help more teachers feel confident about teaching coding. Homero sees the training and support as key to fostering the abilities and confidence of the teachers in school, so they can continue running clubs themselves, and to ensure the long-term success of the programme.

Find out more about becoming a Code Club Global Partner organisation.

Support the transition to secondary school with Code Club!

We understand that education recovery is currently at the top of the agenda for many teachers. Here’s how Code Club can support learners to gain the relevant coding skills to make the transition from primary to secondary computing education. 

Support your learners through Code Club  

In the UK, most children are now back to learning in the classroom instead of learning from home. We know that teachers are looking to understand what learning and experiences their students have missed during the pandemic and to find ways to help them catch up. 

Teachers tell us that learners who will transition from primary to secondary education this year are particularly at a disadvantage. Not only are they potentially behind on important building blocks of learning that they need to take with them to secondary school, but they have also lost out on chances to bond with others as a group, lead activities within their school, and celebrate their achievements. Running a Code Club will support your learners with all of this.

Help provide vital coding skills 

Code Club’s step-by-step Scratch projects, for example, are perfect for helping young people to grasp basic coding concepts, and are a great option for schools looking for transition activities. Sway Grantham, educator and Raspberry Pi Foundation Senior Learning Manager, explains how: 

“Running a Code Club is an easy way to support your learners. The first two Scratch modules give your learners an opportunity to understand the potential of computing, with creative projects that show the wider application of programming skills. This, paired with how they introduce sequence, selection, and repetition, will provide learners with a solid overview of programming before they transition to secondary school.”

The added extras that learners gain from attending Code Club

Whenever we speak to the Code Club community, the overwhelming take-home message is that the benefits of running and attending a Code Club are so much broader than coding and digital skills.  

Clubs provide a fun and informal environment for young people to develop lifelong skills: from collaborating and sharing learning, to problem solving and confidence building. These skills can be particularly important at times of change, such as the transition to a new school. 

Educator Janice, from Scotland, explains how Code Club has benefited their club members:

“I have always said that Code Club is transformational. It teaches young learners thinking skills like ordering, logic, and being precise, without them even knowing, as they are too busy having fun. Code Club gives them confidence to challenge perceptions, fix things, and help each other. I couldn’t think of a better set of skills and experiences for them to [take on] the next part of their educational journey”.

How we can support you 

From skills development to wellbeing, Code Club provides an ideal space to support children transitioning to secondary school and we want to make sure you have all the tools to support this.  

If you would like to restart your Code Club either online or in-person, or are looking to launch a new club this term, here’s a hand-picked selection of resources to help you:

If you have any ideas on how Code Club can help children transition to secondary school, or have any questions about getting your club up and running, drop our team an email. We’d love to hear from you.