Take part in our Clubs Conference

We are excited to announce that Code Club and CoderDojo will host the first-ever Clubs Conference from Friday 24 to Saturday 25 March 2023 at Churchill College, Cambridge and we’d like to invite you to join us!

The Clubs Conference is a participatory event that gives volunteers and educators the chance to celebrate the achievements of our community and explore the innovative ways adults are supporting young people to create with technology.

What you can look forward to

On Friday 24 March, you’ll have the opportunity to register early, enjoy club showcases, and attend an informal networking event to connect with other community members. 

On Saturday 25 March, expect a day filled with learning opportunities that includes:

  • Thought-provoking talks and keynotes
  • Hands-on, easy-to-follow workshops across a range of programming topics
  • Plenty of informal chats, meetups, and opportunities for you to connect with others

If the pandemic taught us anything, it is the value of connecting with others in person. Join us to learn from community members running clubs in diverse contexts, develop your creative making skills, and share your own insights.

Contribute to the Clubs Conference

We’re putting together a full and exciting schedule of participatory activities led by members of the Code Club, CoderDojo, and Raspberry Pi Foundation communities. This is where you come in — we’d love to invite you to host a session!

This call is open to all registrants. Let us know your idea for a session on the registration form below and we will be in touch to hear more. We’re also interested in hearing about any topics you’d like to see explored at the conference, even if you aren’t able to deliver the session yourself!

We are looking for the following content:

  • Club demos (Friday afternoon only)
  • Posters
  • Workshops
  • Discussion sessions
  • Presentations
  • Ignite talks

Interested in attending the conference?

Although we would like to welcome everyone to join us in person in Cambridge, the venue offers limited capacity. To help manage the numbers of volunteers and educators attending the conference, we are providing an expression of interest form before tickets become available in the new year.

If you plan to attend or contribute to the event in Cambridge in March 2023, please fill in the form below. We hope to welcome all those who wish to attend and contribute to the conference, but we are unable to guarantee this at this time.

To help those who would love to participate but feel the costs of travelling could prohibit them from attending, we are including the option for people to apply for a travel bursary.

We are only able to offer a contribution towards travel and accommodation to a limited number of community members who would otherwise be unable to attend the conference. To be eligible for consideration, you must:

  • Be registered as a host or volunteer at a Code Club or Dojo within the UK or Ireland
  • Be available to attend the Clubs Conference in Cambridge
  • Have submitted an application to attend the conference

If you are based outside of the UK or Ireland and have any questions about the Clubs Conference or bursary scheme, please contact Isabel Ronaldson, our Global Community Coordinator, on isabel.ronaldson@raspberrypi.org

Join remotely

To make the conference accessible to our wider CoderDojo and Code Club community, and for those unable to attend in person, we are planning to live stream some of the talks and keynotes online. If you are unable to attend the event in Cambridge and would like to be kept informed of the online elements of the event, please register using this form.

We’re looking forward to hearing from you about the type of content you’d like to see at your #ClubsCon23!

Rich Hind gets back to Code Club and shares his tips for running a dynamic club!

Long-term community member Rich Hind took a break from Code Club, but in 2021 he resumed his adventure with code and launched a new club at Congleton Library in Cheshire, England. Rich shares his experience and advice on getting back to running a Code Club.

Community member, Rich Hind

Starting a Code Club after a break, or even starting one from scratch (pardon the pun), can feel like a daunting task. However, you have so much support around you from the Code Club team and other volunteers across the country (there’s a whole gaggle of us on Twitter to help!).

I remember launching my first Code Club in 2016, and facing that first group of children felt very intimidating. In some ways, those feelings were there again when I started up my new club in 2021, at Congleton Library in Cheshire, England. 

It had been over three years since I had run my last club, and it was now in a new location where no one knew my previous achievements with so many cohorts of kids.

It can feel overwhelming, but there are several things that work to your advantage if you are returning after a break.

The kids want to be there!

This isn’t your usual after-school club. The crowd you attract to this are going to be very keen on this specific area, and the interest and engagement will be very different to something that is considered ‘school’.

Some will be absolutely new to the idea of coding, some will have had a go on their own (some might even give you a run for your money!), but they want to be in the group. They’ve chosen to join you!

Some members of Congleton Code Club

You are building on a foundation of experience

Whether in the past you have run one module of the Code Club materials or you have run a club for years, you have experience you can build upon which is absolutely going to hold you in good stead. I found that within ten minutes of standing in front of the class again, my muscle memory kicked in and a lot of old knowledge came flooding to the front of my mind — for example, how to encourage kids to keep focused on a task! We all know that sometimes that can be hard.

I will always break down bigger tasks into chunks and piece them up, or get the class to break a big task into steps. I often get the children to act out what we are trying to achieve. For example, in the Scratch project Lost in space, I get one child to be the rocket and one to be the Earth, and we physically walk through each step in space to make a list of what each bit of code needs to do.

Lost in Space Scratch project

If Code Club is entirely new to you, why not use the expertise of others? You can find a fully formed session all ready for you to deliver in the first session pack. There are so many resources available to you. Make sure you explore the resource library.

Write it all down

When running my last Code Club, I started a blog to write down my thoughts, ideas, and plans for future lessons, and it worked well (until the coronavirus pandemic). I would recommend doing some pre- and post-work for every session, as this helped me remember what worked (and what didn’t), along with ideas and improvements for the future.

My pre-work is:

  1. Running through the lesson plan from beginning to end. This jogs the brain into remembering what you need to do, and allows me to make notes on where I think the stumbling blocks are for the children. Sometimes it’s good as it lets you let them make mistakes and figure out the steps!
  2. I screenshot and print out the sections of the code, and have them to hand — this helps me as I have a fully formed version of each sprite’s/background element’s code and I can refer to it quickly if I want a quick refresher or to compare it to a child’s code to ensure it’s running smoothly.

My post-work is:

  1. I make some notes when I get home about what worked, and what didn’t. This can be what the class struggled with, and what they excelled at. It can also include things about where you thought they would struggle and they didn’t, or bits you were surprised they found tough. Every child is different.
  2. I write it up as a blog post, and put in bits of code and screenshots and chat about how it went. I now refer to older blog posts and compare years, see how the group did and what the differences are, and build upon the previous sessions.

I hope that your new clubs, be they completely brand new or ones you have restarted, run fantastically! The whole Code Club volunteer community are rooting for you and are always happy to answer any questions. Come and say hello to me on Twitter.

You can inspire young people by setting up a Code Club in your community. Find out how!

Top three resources for running a vibrant Code Club 

Launching your new Code Club or resuming a club that has been paused for an extended time might make you feel a little apprehensive. That’s OK! Tamasin Greenough Graham, Head of Code Club, shares three resources that will help you run your Code Club with confidence.

A child and adult looking at a laptop screen.

Picking my top three resources is quite a challenge as we have so many to choose from! There is something to meet your every need. Please check them out on our resource page — it’s full of helpful materials like crib sheets to guide you through our projects, certificates, sample letters, and so much more.

Log in to your account, head to your dashboard, and scroll down to the resources section. 

Resource one: Club organisers’ guide

If you’re new to Code Club or are starting back after a break, the go-to document is our club organisers’ guide

This guide walks you through the important first steps you’ll need to plan and set up your Code Club with ease. It also acts as a brilliant refresher if you’re starting your Code Club after a break. 

Pages from the club organiser pack.

Resource two: First session guide

From your feedback, we understand that running your first session can sometimes feel a bit daunting, as well as being an extra task at the beginning of a busy term! To help with this, we’ve created a new step-by-step first session guide to give you everything you need in one place.

Based on the beginners ‘Space talk‘ Scratch project, you’ll find in the guide:

  • A session plan
  • Simple and practical advice to help your prepare for the session
  • All your preparation for the session has been broken down into small chunks
  • New activities to support your coders’ learning 

The NEW unplugged activities link to ‘Space talk’ and are great to hand out to coders who finish the project towards the end of a session, or as activities to try at home.

This guide makes the first session so easy to run. I know I will be using it to give me confidence that my first Code Club session back will be fun and have a positive impact on the learners. 

Front pages from the first session pack; running your first Code Club session, Create and colour, I spy and Space memory game.

Resource three: 250+ coding projects

Where to start? Well, that is easy, I promise! Our ‘3, 2, 1, Make!’ project paths are carefully designed so that as young people progress, they develop their coding skills as well as their independence to create projects that matter to them.

We have paths about Scratch, Python, Unity, physical computing, and how to get started with a Raspberry Pi Pico. Each path contains six projects that are guaranteed by our young testers to be great fun!

You can learn more about ‘3,2,1, Make!’ and the pedagogy behind these projects in this blog.

Bonus resource: Certificates!

I know this is my top three, but I couldn’t write this blog post without mentioning our certificates! 

Recognising success and achievements, however big or small, is such a vital part of Code Club. We’ve got a huge selection of certificates to celebrate everything from superstar coders to completing a whole project path. 

A selection of Code Club certificates.

We can’t wait to get back to Code Club and see all the creative projects from your Code Club members. Share how you’re getting on using the hashtag #MyCodeClub or by tagging us on Facebook or Twitter. If we see your posts, we might even send you some stickers!

Let’s get coding! 

If there is a resource that you’d like to see in our library, share it with the team and write to us at support@codeclub.org