Ms Usha’s reflections on her journey as a Code Club India educator

Ms Usha, an IT professional and now Code Club educator shares what inspired her to set up a Code Club, how it is helping learners to gain new skills, and why it is important to empower girls to explore digital making!

Ms Usha

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I work and live in Dubai as an IT professional, but grew up in Andhra Pradesh, a southern state in India. I am a tech enthusiast and believe that it can change people’s lives.

The opportunity was given to me to leave Andhra Pradesh and explore my career options. I wanted to give that chance — that opportunity — to those children in my old village, which was my motivator to go back and set up a Code Club.

 I wanted a chance to learn something new and expand my own skills.

Each week, I run my club online from Dubai and have sixty plus club members attending via the local school in Andhra Pradesh.

What inspired you to volunteer for Code Club?

I learned about Scratch when volunteering with the Ministry of Education AI series, in the UAE [in] 2019. The projects created by the students impressed me and encouraged me to learn to code.

I had the assumption that coding wasn’t meant for children and that they wouldn’t understand complicated concepts. After looking at Scratch and the Code Club projects and resources — I thought to myself “Why can’t they?”, rather “Why can’t I?”.

Learning never ends, one should be a student for life!

I decided to start a club in Andhra Pradesh, as I wanted to develop the skills and bring out the hidden talents of the children within that community.

What skills can children gain with Code Club?

With technology comes freedom of expression and the chance for children to set out and achieve something on their own.

In doing so, they face challenges that they must work through to reach their goals. Coding helps them to establish a strong sense of perseverance and encourages learners to come up with their own solutions.

They can use these skills in computing, or outside of it — in the form of homework issues, disagreements with friends, or other personal hardship they may face.

Why is it important to empower girls to explore digital making?

Girls still face many barriers when exploring computing and digital making opportunities. From gender discrimination [and] language difficulties to low literacy and lack of funding.

There are many hidden skills gained through computing, including problem-solving, teamwork, and self-motivation which will support girls with their future education.

Programmes like Code Club also help to improve literacy and education and is another way to help girls reach their potential.

Can you share what you enjoy most about running a Code Club?

Learners at Code Club have a positive attitude about learning new things. I enjoy seeing their creativity and imagination come to life through code, they support each other even if it’s online. Sometimes, I can struggle with the local language, but students jump in and help me out, whilst supporting each other.

Has Ms Usha inspired you to set up a Code Club? Take a look at our website or contact the Code Club India team at india@raspberrypi.org.

Code Club Iraq is helping learners dream big with code!

Dr Nadia Al-Aboody is the driving force behind Code Club Iraq, she’s been empowering Code Club children and educators since 2016. 

Educator Zahraa and young coders Alaa, Haneen, and Yusuf tell us about the positive impact that Nadia and Code Club has had on their lives.

Dr Nadia Al-Aboody

Dr Nadia Al-Aboody is a lecturer of computer science in Maysan, Iraq, a dedicated Code Club leader, a Raspberry Pi National Partner for Iraq, and an advocate for women and girls in STEM. She tells us:

“When I was a little girl I didn’t find a mentor to help me with electronics, I only heard voices saying I won’t make it. This is why I now mentor girls and female trainers in our Code Club. I want to give them a chance to grow.”

Nadia has been involved with Code Club for five years and is a real role model for many girls and women in Iraq. 

Alaa is dreaming big through code! 

Meet Alaa, aged 10! Alaa joined Nadia’s Code Club in 2020 when she started to dream big with code!

“I want to be famous when I grow up, the skills and knowledge I’ve gained from being a Code Club member will help me achieve my dreams!” 

Code Club is a great space to spark the imagination of young people, to encourage them to explore ideas that interest them, whilst developing their skills. This was one reason why Alaa wanted to join Code Club: 

“At the end of the project, I will see something I have made and it will help me make other projects with new ideas!”

If Alaa was to offer any advice to new club members, she says that you should give it a go as you are guaranteed to have a “really fun time there” — thank you, Alaa! 

Alaa at Code Club

Developing transferable skills 

Zahraa is an electrical engineer and is currently studying for a Master’s in computer engineering; she is affectionately called Nadia’s ‘right-hand woman’! She has been a Code Club volunteer for two years. Zahraa tells us: 

“What attracted me to Code Club is that the team supports children of different ages, and teaches them how to rely on themselves, as well as the basics for programming and logical thinking. 

The training from Nadia has helped me a lot, even outside of club-based activities, and I have been able to use the skills I developed from volunteering at Code Club in other areas of my life too, like public speaking, delivering training, communications and public relations, logical thinking, and of course, coding! 

I would really advise anyone who is thinking about getting involved with us at Code Club to absolutely do it. It’s one of the most rewarding things I have done.” 

Code Club educator, Zahraa

Code Club is supporting future career paths 

Nadia and the team have created safe spaces where children are able to explore coding and discuss future career paths. 

Haneen (14) and Yusuf (10) are siblings who attend Code Club. Haneen has always been excited by programming, but since coming to Code Club, she is now thinking about choosing it as her field of study at university. 

Yusuf wasn’t sure what he wanted to be when he grew up, but his Code Club experience has made him sure that he wants to become a games programmer. 

Haneen shares her coding skills in this Code Club Scratch project; have a go and see how you get on! 

Code Club Iraq

To find out how to start your own Code Club, head to www.codeclub.org if you are based in the UK, India or the USA or to www.international.codeclub.org if you are based outside the UK. 

3…2…1… Blast off with Code Club for World Space Week!

Fuel your coders’ imagination and take part in World Space Week (4–10 October) — the largest annual space event in the world! 

Explore our space-themed projects, celebrate the women who have paved the way for space exploration, and learn how your club can send a message into space with the European Astro Pi Challenge Mission Zero.

Women in space 

From Margaret Hamilton’s code for NASA’s Apollo 11 mission in 1969, to Wally Funk joining Blue Origin Crew on board the New Shepard rocket in July, women have been an integral part of space exploration for centuries. 

Here are three real roles models you can talk about in your classroom who have made an impact on space exploration: 

  1. Katherine Johnson, born in 1918, developed calculations that synched Apollo’s Lunar Lander with the moon orbiting Command and Service Module.
  2. Mary Jackson, born in 1921, was the first black female engineer for NASA. She worked to impact the hiring of the next generation of women at NASA. 
  3. Jessica Ulrika Meir, born in 1977, joined Christina Koch on 18 October 2019 for the first all-female spacewalk!

Let the exploration begin 

Our space-themed project collection includes eight projects to appeal to the space-loving coders in your club.

The collection features a brand-new beginner’s Scratch project called ‘Space talk’, where children learn how to add sprites and backdrops and are introduced to ‘look’ and ‘sound’ code blocks to make their sprite emote! 

Space talk

For your more confident coders, explore our Python project called ‘Where is the Space Station?‘. Learners use a web service to find out the current location of the International Space Station (ISS) and plot its location on a map.

If you’re based in the UK, the USA, India, or Ireland, head to your dashboard, ‘Resources’ and scroll down to the ‘Learning resources’ section to download your copy of our space-themed collection. 

If you’re based outside of the UK, the USA, India, or Ireland, head to our Code Club international website.

Space-themed project collection

Send a message to the International Space Station

Bring space exploration to your classroom by taking part in the European Astro Pi Challenge Mission Zero, an ESA Education project run by the Raspberry Pi Foundation. To enter, young people just need to write a simple Python program that will display a message on the International Space Station (ISS)! 

There’s something extra special about this year’s challenge! All Mission Zero participants will have the opportunity to vote for the names of the two new Astro Pi computers that are being sent to the International Space Station in December — how cool is that?

Find out if your club is eligible to take part in Mission Zero and how you can include a name choice in your submission with this handy project guide.

Our new project paths and European Astro Pi Challenge Mission Zero have easy to follow step-by-step instructions, allowing both young coders and educators to reach for the stars, learn together, and succeed!

Share your successes with us on Twitter using the hashtag #MyCodeClub