Tag Archives: sheffield

Sheffield kids learn how to code at Plusnet

plusnet_codeclub_1

plusnet_codeclub_1On the 28th October 2015, 24 children attended a Code Club at Plusnet to learn how to create computer games. While Code Clubs are normally run at schools and community venues such as libraries, we were very excited to launch our very first Code Club at our Sheffield office, giving kids an opportunity to come over and learn about coding. They were supported by Plusnet volunteers and got first hand advice from Plusnet software engineers!
All tickets were sold out within a week and we were sad to see not everybody could join us on the day.
plusnet_codeclub_4I have lead this 3 hour workshop and still think that running a Code Club is such an amazing experience. I am really happy that along with Plusnet we can give children an opportunity to learn about coding and help them become more confident with technology. Being able to inspire the young generation and show them that computers can be fun to work with is very rewarding.
During the break, the children had an opportunity to learn how Plusnet works and were given a tour around our offices where they had the opportunity to talk to some of our engineers. We also had a short visit to one of our data centres where the young coders learnt about how the internet works and what ‘providing broadband’ means.

“I was so pleased that we were able to host what is the first Code Club event in what I hope will now become a regular fixture here at Plusnet, and it was a testament to the hard work of Seb, Aoife and the wider team in that it went so smoothly. It was truly amazing to hear how much the kids knew about technology during the q&a session, not to mention seeing what they created when they got their heads down to the coding. Ensuring they got a look around the building and the chance to wave at people was also important to illustrate the connection between the fun side of coding and how fundamental computing is to our everyday lives and they were all so well behaved on the day. Another great example of how Plusnet takes its’ role in the community seriously and I’m very much looking forward to the next event.”

Participants at Plusnet Code Club were children aged 8 – 12 and it was great to see that over 30% of the children were girls. All of them enjoyed the club and they created some amazing games despite the fact that this was the first time that some of them had ever done any coding activities. It was clearly a success as almost everybody said afterwards that they would consider becoming a coder in the future.
plusnet_codeclub_2Not only were the children inspired – some of the volunteers, that have not done coding before said, this is something that they would like to try and learn as well!
Aoife Gilroy said: “I was extremely excited about the opportunity to be involved in Plusnet’s first code club as coding is one of the skills children will need for the future. After the session with the children it made me want to find out more and will be part-taking in future events alongside some sneaky practice at home.”
Plusnet plans to organise another half term code club in February 2016 and will hopefully start running a regular Code Club in the near future.

The first rule of Code Club is ALWAYS talk about Code Club!

CodeClub

 

So I do! The first time I have heard about Code Club was about 2 months ago at PHP UK Conference in London. Aral Balkan has mentioned it in his talk and immediately got my attention. We’d had a lengthy discussion about it as I thought it’s a brilliant idea, and decided that I want to get involved and support it.

In short, Code Club is a nationwide network of free volunteer-led after-school coding clubs for children aged 9-11. It is an amazing project co-founded by Clare Sutcliffe and Linda Sandvik in April 2012. I believe it is a brilliant idea and a perfect way to promote programming and software engineering amongst young people. Otherwise how are we going to get more people involved into development?! You can read a bit more what the Code Club is all about at their website – http://www.codeclub.org.uk/about. We are using Scratch – a programming language that makes it easy to create interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art.

As I have my 2 kids at a local primary school – Malin Bridge Primary School in Sheffield, what would we be a better place then to start there. So I got in touch with the Head Teacher – Stephen Betts, during a PTA meeting, explained what a Code Club is and that I wanted to start one. He loved the idea and with a lot of help from Steve Green, a school teacher and extended earning coordinator, we have set up the first Code Club session to happen on Wed, 17th April – which is today!

Malin Bridge Primary School

Despite the fact that I already have a bit of experience in public speaking, I was quite nervous and stressed. Wasn’t quite sure how I am gonna handle a group of children in front of computer screens and make them listen to me and follow the instructions. But I got a lovely group of 11 students from year 5 and 6, who I believe have had a lot of fun and were very excited about the prospect of being able to create a computer game. I must admit, this first session, got a little bit out of hand, as everybody was trying to make their work unique and therefor the kids needed a lot of my attention when something was going the wrong way, but the end result is astonishing. You can see what the kids have created so far at the Scratch website – I was amazed with the amount of imagination that went into that work, and to be honest I am really curious how the game is going to look like at the very end.

So, please, if you are a developer, why don’t you start a Code Club at your local school? It’s very easy – all you have to do is:

Code Club provides all the materials that you will need to run the Club – you will get access to them once you register your club. You don’t need a lot of time to do that – a few hours initially to go through the process of setting it up, and after that, an hour a week to lead the club and probably about an hour just to prepare to your next session. Well… there is one thing they don’t tell you. Make sure you have a bottle of water with you. Today, I could hardly speak after the session :D

Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to my employer – EMIS. I can work in such hours, that I can easily come to school and lead the after school club. I wouldn’t be able to do that without their support.