I met Hannah* last December. I doubt Hannah would know it, but she made a big impression on me.
It was just a handful of words – carefully chosen, and shared so bravely. She said, “Code Club has woken up my spirit.”
That is when I realised I had been wrong. I thought we were giving kids a chance to learn to code – an increasingly important life skill – in a collaborative environment, led by cool adult volunteers. As it turns out, there is so much more to it.
We already knew our programs were great at teaching computational thinking and at creating a space for kids to do clever things with the power of code. This is why we were so excited to bring the globally successful Code Club model to Australia.
But according to kids like Hannah, we are also helping to build their self confidence and ignite a passion for learning. Hear what Hannah and her Code Club-mates have to say about Code Club in their student-produced video here.
Code Club Australia is a network of after school clubs for kids aged 9-11 years. It’s led by teachers and volunteers who run weekly hour-long sessions in schools, libraries and community centres across Australia. Sessions emphasise fun, creativity and learning-through-exploring. Children are trained in programming by creating games and they are encouraged to think creatively and to build problem-solving skills.
In Australia, high school aged youth are given the opportunity to participate in a concentrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) program as part of the curriculum. We think this learning should start earlier. Studies report that by this stage, young people are already self-selecting out of STEM subjects – that is, science, technology, engineering and mathematics – especially girls.
“Technology, in my opinion, is a boys’ subject,” says Hannah. I have it on good authority that Hannah attends a warm and supportive learning environment and, if her smile is any indication, she seems to me a happy kid. The thing is, Hannah is one of millions of girls worldwide that feel girls are not as successful in STEM subjects as boys.
Code Club is changing that. Code Club is designed to be inclusive of kids who face barriers to thriving in STEM education. Our programs are free and can be set up with just a little guidance from a Code Club volunteer.
Our mission is to give every child in Australia the chance to learn to code. Our challenge for 2015 is a big one. We aim to start 500 new Code Clubs across Australia.
So we’re looking for people to join the Code Club crusade. Help us inspire kids to be more confident and more capable: Start a Code Club or become a volunteer today.
Learn more at the Code Club website.
* The name of the child I met through Code Club has been changed in this blog to protect the privacy of that child.