Coding clubs are going viral at schools at the moment, and coding clubs have never been more accessible to school community.
As a parent you too may want to start a coding club at your child’s school. Here are 10 steps on how parent volunteers can start running a coding club:
- Get agreement with the school principal to operate a coding club at the school using a school room and equipment.
- Identify the equipment available at the school for use for the coding club. This might be a computer room with 25 computers or the school library with 15 laptops. A projector or a large television screen would also be required for demonstrations.
- Identify which afternoons the computer room and volunteers are available. Sometimes rooms are used for other purposes e.g. outside hours school care. It is also best to ensure that the tutors are available for the full term and not just on an ad-hoc basis to maintain continuity of the learning journey for the children. Tutors will also require a volunteer’s Blue Card (Queensland). (A Blue Card is a Queensland Government requirement for employees to be permitted to work with children.)
- Book in the venue and the volunteers for the same time and day for a set number of weeks for the term. For example, if you would like to start a coding club for Term 1 in 2017, book in every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon for 8 weeks: Tuesday 7 February - Wednesday 29 March.
- Coding clubs tend to be split into age groups - typically Years 2-3 and Years 4-6. If you run 2 classes a week, one can be allocated for each group.
- Advertise the coding club in the school newsletter, Facebook page and on school noticeboards.
- Develop class content for the 8-week period, one set for the Years 2-3 class and another for the Years 4-6 class. You may develop 3 or 4 games that students can build over the 8-week period which allow them to discover and explore the fundamentals of computer programming in a fun and playful way. If you have 3 or 4 tutors, each tutor may create one game to share with the other tutors. You can find a sample 8-week course worth of lesson plans at here.
- Volunteer tutors to work through the class content together. The best way to learn to teach programming is to teach each other the class content. If each tutor has developed their own game, each tutor can take turns in teaching the others how they will deliver the game to the students.
- Receive enrolments and deliver the weekly coding clubs. Remember to take photos, invite students to demonstrate their projects to the class or wider school and share stories of the coding club with the wider school community.
- Volunteer tutors can regroup at the end of the 8-week block to share lessons learnt and ways to do things better next term.
Starting a coding club at your child’s school is easy with a group of enthusiastic parents coming together to volunteer and run the coding club. Give your school community the opportunity of developing technology creation skills.
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For more tips on coding and kids, check out Coding for kids: build your first computer game and 10 of the BEST STEM toys.