Dr Paul Callaghan, one of our development team, is currently on his third term of volunteering with Code Club at a school in Durham. Code Club is "a nationwide network of volunteer-led after school coding clubs for children aged 9-11".
This scheme helps schools link up with IT-savvy volunteers to run childrens' clubs, and it provides much of the infrastructure needed for a successful club - including basic training, support and advice for volunteers, and a wide range of imaginative projects and related materials to help you plan the sessions. At present, almost 2500 schools run some kind of Code Club - but there's plenty more schools who would like to join in!
Paul says: "I'm really impressed with the work the teachers are doing, and with the level of skills the children already have. But it's really fantastic how enthusiastic the children are to find out more, and how quickly they get to grips with new ideas. It is much more fun than all those years I spent teaching undergraduates!".
So far, Paul has covered topics like Scratch, Minecraft, basic web page construction, and music programming via Sonic Pi, using a mix of laptops and Raspberry Pi's. It was also fun to show off his collection of computer antiques. Paul has been using the Code Club materials as a rough framework, with frequent digressions guided by the childrens' interests and curiosity.
Paul is also an accredited trainer for Code Club Pro. This is a related scheme which provides useful and timely guidance to teachers on various parts of the new primary-level curriculum. "It's another good way to help pass on skills and experience", says Paul.
Transcendit is proud to support Paul's Code Club work as part of his busy workload - approximately 2 to 3 hours per week. We recognise the importance of schemes like Code Club, and the potential benefits for the community and for developing future IT professionals.
http://www.codeclub.org.uk has useful information about how to sign up and get started with your own club. The North East region also has excellent support from Campus North (email: email@example.com or see http://campusnorth.co.uk)