Julia Harrison is a volunteer for Code Club’s teacher training arm, Code Club Pro. Code Club Pro asks experts to donate 8 hours per year of their time to share knowledge with teachers in their local areas.
We asked Julia to explain a bit about her work with Code Club Pro, and helping teachers conquer the challenges of the new curriculum:
“Technology is one of my big passions, and I get a lot of satisfaction from volunteering activities that enable and inspire more children to use computing in their careers. It’s fulfilling to help teachers gain confidence and enthusiasm to teach core computing concepts, and hopefully I can shatter some preconceptions of what it’s like to work in IT along the way!
The new computing curriculum is a great opportunity to open the minds of children to the idea that they can be digital makers – actually creating their own games and computer programs.
For many primary school teachers who have never written a line of code, clearly this is going to be a big leap. I’m thrilled that the IT industry is stepping up to support them, and I wanted to be a part of that.
Code Club Pro makes it easy for us to contribute in a way that adds real value. Morgan Stanley actively encourages all of its employees to volunteer within our communities. My job requires me to attend a lot of meetings, but because I can book Code Club Pro sessions in advance at a time that suits me, and I have the support of my managers, it’s easy to work them into my schedule.
It’s great when teachers start to notice that so many computing concepts are very similar to what they’ve been teaching for years. I’m excited that all children now have the opportunity to learn about coding, both for the career opportunities it opens up, and to understand the technology we use in our daily lives.”
Interested in getting involved in volunteering with Code Club Pro, or want to learn more about attending a teacher training session? Find out more at https://www.codeclubpro.org
Continuing our Volunteers Week blog series, we hear from Abbas Tutcuoglu, an Aeronautical Engineering student from Imperial University, who runs a Code Club in London. Abbas filled us in about what inspired him to get involved:
Where I grew up in Germany, I experienced the uneven chances in education based on different financial backgrounds from a very early age. I felt that many of my friends who ended up in Hauptschule (secondary school with lowest future job prospects) actually had the potential to make it to Gymnasium (secondary school with highest job prospects), but simply haven’t received the necessary support during their time in primary school.
Often, this is because both parents have to work and don’t understand the local school system, which makes it difficult for them to provide any useful help to their children. In other cases, they underestimate the myriad opportunities that a good education can provide.
I therefore got involved with Code Club because I felt that sharing my own knowledge might help other disadvantaged students to receive the support that some of my peers growing up lacked, and it might help grant them equal chances of success in their future.
I really enjoy being part of Code Club because I get the opportunity to share my knowledge with others. I didn’t know any HTML before I started running my club, so I actually got to teach myself something useful as well! As a busy student, volunteering with a club gives you the chance to leave work aside for a moment, and work on your communication skills, patience and social engagement.
One of my best Code Club moments came during one of the last sessions in December, after having covered all topics in the Scratch-section, we decided to let the children choose one of the games uploaded by other developers, in order to see how far they can take programming with Scratch. The great thing about this was that all the corresponding code to the game was available as well and so students would simply change them as soon as they got stuck. So basically, without having our instructions in front of them and without anyone urging them to use Scratch, they would use their skills to simplify and circumvent problems.
Adam Cohen Rose is one of Code Club’s longest serving volunteers. He is involved with running his own Code Club, as well as helping with teacher training through Code Club Pro.
As part of our Volunteers Week blog series celebrating the work of our volunteers, we asked Adam to tell us a bit about his experiences, and what motivates him to be part of Code Club:
“I work with computers every day and I can really see the impact made by being able to understand computers and make them work on your behalf. I want to make sure that the next generation has the skills to reach behind the smooth interfaces of their smartphones and take advantage of the technology inside.
I started volunteering for Code Club when my son was 8 and only learning office skills on the computers at school. At the same time the #codingforkids movement started, so I pledged to approach the headmaster of my son’s primary school. I offered to start a lunchtime computing club for the children – I’m still running a Code Club at that school over three years later. My son told me that the thing he most enjoyed about school was Code Club — two years running.
Because I run a lunchtime Code Club at my local primary school, it’s very easy to run every week without taking time off work. My company gives me two days a year of volunteering time, which I’ve agreed to take spread out across an extra 30 minutes for three terms of 12 lunchtimes.
Code Club makes it easy to volunteer — there’s so much support that I pretty much just need to turn up and help the children through whichever project they are working on that week. It provides great projects that get children excited about starting to program — learning almost without noticing they’re doing so — and crucially bringing in just as many girls as boys.
For Code Club Pro I support teachers with the new curriculum. I help the teachers that are struggling to understand the computing environment to feel less scared and more empowered so they can help hundreds more children.”
If you’re interested in getting involved in starting a Code Club like Adam, or volunteering with Code Club Pro, then you can find out everything you need to know about getting started on our website.